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Gift of 

Theological School 
Class of 1935 












EEV. B. F. TEFFT, D.D., 




185 3. 

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, hy 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 






€^k Wmk is kMtatrif, 








The object of this work is to defend the propriety 
and to show the importance of thorough ministerial 
education in general, and especially in tlie Methodist 
Episcopal church. Our fathers understood their mis- 
sion when they declared that they believed it to be 
God's design in raising up the Methodist ministry " to 
reform the continent and to spread scriptural holiness 
over these lands." ^ They considered themselves to be 
under the direction of divine Providence, and we of 
this generation consider ourselves to have the best 
grounds for this belief. They were called upon to 
meet a great emergency of the times in spreading the 
knowledge of the gospel in this newly-settled country. 
"We honor their memories because they ran in the way 
in which divine Providence directed them. They did 
their work. They did it nobly, and have gone to 
their rest. 

' Lee's History, p. 96. 

a* (v) 


But the churcli has come to a new era in her history. 
She has extended her borders from ocean to ocean. 
Some of our churclies are nearly a century in age, and 
we have grown to be the most powerful religious or- 
ganization in the western world. Religious education, 
enlightened and evangelical, — the great want of the 
human mind, — must be met and suppUed by us. It is 
as important now, and as much the dictate of divine 
Providence that we should take care of these churches 
and supply them with this needful want, as it was that 
our fathers should plant them in the first instance. If 
our fathers and brethren, now on the stage, differ with 
us as to the mode of accomplishing this object, we will 
have no controversy with them. They are at liberty to 
proceed in their own way. There is room enough for 
us all to work. 

Our book is strictly apologetic, and not controversial. 
We stand simply on the defensive, and all we ask is, 
that we may have the privilege of acting out our own 
convictions of duty in respect to ministerial education 
in the church of our choice. This privilege we grant, 
this privilege also we firmly claim. 

Our object is to raise up a ministry suited to the 
present emergencies of the church, and such as the 
times and the state of the world imperatively demand. 
We want a holy ministry, a well-instructed muiistry, a 
ministry called of God, and endowed with the best gifts 


of divine grace and human learning. This is our posi- 
tion, and we believe that Scripture, history, and reason 
will all unite their voice in sustaining it. 

A large portion of our work originally appeared in 
the columns of the Northern Clu-istian Advocate, in 
1852. At the suggestion of a number of valued friends, 
I have consented to collect together these fugitive let- 
ters, and put them into a permanent form. "Written 
as they were during hours snatched from onerous pro- 
fessional labor, no one can be more sensible of their 
imperfections than the writer. For several facts in 
the former part of the work I acknowledge myself 
indebted to an able Discourse on Theological Educa- 
tion, by George Howe, D. D., of South Carolina. To 
other works to which I am indebted due acknowledg- 
ment is made at the foot of the page. Such as the 
work is, I now present it to the church, and to the 
community generally, praying that the divine blessing 
may be upon it, and that it may be in some degree 
useful in bringing on the latter-day glory. 

Stephen M. Vail. 
CoNCOiU), March 24, 1853. 




Schools in the Early Ages. — Ministerial Education in the Jew- 
ish Church. — First secured by Means of the Le^itical Schools. 

— The Lcvites the di\-incly-appointcd Religious Teadicrs of 
the People. — Inferences. 9 


The Prophet Schools, a new Mode of Ministerial Education. 

— Cause of their Origin. — Their Location. — Their Instruc- 
tion. — Number of Students. — How supported. — Their 
Dwellings. — Sometimes their Members married Men. — Con- 
tinuance of this Form of Ministerial Education. — Inferences. 16 


The Levitical and Prophet Schools succeeded by the Synagogue 
and the Assemblies of the Wise. — The Beth Midrash of the 
Synagogue ; their usual Place of Meeting 24 


An Answer to the Question, What Pro\-isions were made in the 
Times of the New Testament for Ministerial Education ? -. 31 




The Education of Apollos. — The Apostle Paul personally en- 
gages in instructing Candidates for the Ministrj'. — Dr. Mos- 
heim's Exposition of Tim. ii. 2. 41 


Dr. Mosheim's Exposition confirmed. — The New Testament 
Teacher, what was his Office ? — Ministerial Education by the 
Apostles confirmed by the early Church "Writers, as Eusebius 
and Jerome 47 


Provisions for Ministerial Education in the Primitive Church. — 
The Alexandrine School. — Occasions of its Foundation. — 
The Number of Teachers and Pupils in this School. . . 54 


Alexandrine School. — Why located at Alexandria. — Studies 
pursued by the Alexandrine School. — What Length of Time 
was devoted to this Com-se of Study. — Support of the Alex- 
andrine Teachers. — Other Biblical Schools of the Primitive 
Church 60 


Principle to be illustrated. — Christianity in the British Isles 
during the First Ages. — Biblical School of lona. — Its Course 
of Study. — Influence of the School. — Its Decline and Fall. 67 


Ignorance of the Clergy in the Middle Ages. — The Paulicians 
and Waldenses Lovers of the Bible. — Ministerial Education 


in the Times of the Reformers. — Their Influence in establish- 
ing and carrjdng on the Work of Reform. — James Arminius, 
and his Influence on Muiisterial Education 75 


Ministerial Education among the Wesleyan Methodists. — Pre- 
liminary Measures to the Formation of the Wesleyan Theo- 
logical Institution 86 


Mr, Wesley's Views of Ministerial Qualifications and Educa- 
tion 107 


The former History of Methodism in Connection with Ministe- 
rial Education by Biblical Schools a Reason why we should still 
highly value them 119 


Ministerial Education in the Methodist Episcopal Church. — 
Position of the First Conferences and Bishops on this Sub- 
ject, — Opinions of Dr. Fisk and Dr. Olin. — Present Position 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church on this Question. , .126 


The Connection of Ministerial Education in Biblical Schools 
with the Missionary Cause 141 


Some Reasons why Candidates for the Ministry of the Method- 
ist Episcopal Church should be thoroughly instructed for 
their Work 153 



Ministerial Education should be practical. — Large Cities the 
preferable Locations for Ministerial Training. — ^Vrguments 
for this View. 167 


Connection of Biblical Departments vdth our Seminaries and 
Colleges. — Schools in our Cities. — Objections to City Loca- 
tions considered 179 


The best Mode of sustaining Schools for Ministerial Education. 
— Their Relations to our other Literary Institutions, as our 
Conference Seminaries and Colleges. — Their Relations to the 
General, Annual, and Quarterly Conferences. . . . 184 


Objections considered. — ConcIusioiL 191 


A brief account of the rise and present position of the Method- 
ist General Biblical Institute 203 



The reader of the following work need not 
be told that the topic of it is one of exceeding 
interest, particularly at the present time ; and 
he will see, before finishing a perusal of the 
volume, that its author is entirely competent to 
the task which he has undertaken to perform. 

He has given us, in a brief compass, a history 
of ministerial education from the earliest periods 
in the annals of the Jews to the present moment. 
He gives us, not only his opinions, but the 
opinions of 'the ablest divines of our own de- 
nomination, the opinions of our early bishops, 
and the action of the conferences soon after 
the organization of our church. He states, fully 
and fairly, as was to be expected of a Christian 
gentleman and scholar of his ability and candor, 
the strongest objections that have been mooted 
against the in-door education of our ministers, 
and then answers these objections as fully and 
b (xiii) 


as fairly as he had stated them. j.n every way, 
in fact, so far as the manner and spirit of the 
author are concerned, he has entirely met the 
expectation of his special friends, who have long 
known him to be, not only one of the pro- 
foundest of our scholars, but among the best, 
and purest, and most reliable of our men. 

It will be at once perceived, by the critical 
reader, that Professor Vail has made no at- 
tempt, in this work, at ambitious writing. There 
is no flare or flourish in his style. He had a 
plain topic to discuss, and he has discussed it 
in a plain, simple, unafl"ected way. He might, 
perhaps, have indulged in more ornament of 
diction without injury to his cause ; but the 
ruling idea with him evidently has been to state 
facts, to answer objections, and to draw con- 
clusions of a wholesome and useful character, 
— wholesome to the reader and useful to the 
church, — without turning aside to pick flowers, 
which his straightforward and honest heart did 
not seem to think of, when he was writing out 
his thoughts. 

It was not to have been expected, on the other 
hand, that, in so considerable a volume, the 
p,uthor could state every fact, and every point. 


precisely as the reader, or as the writer of this 
introductory note, perhaps, would have stated 
them for himself. It is enough, however, that 
the facts are facts ; that they are stated honest- 
ly, without exaggeration, retrenchment, or dis- 
tortion ; that no unworthy advantage is taken 
of the authorities referred to and quoted ; that 
the labor is all done in such honor, that those 
readers who have not the original authorities 
to consult, or have not the scholarship or the 
time to read them, may rely with the most 
perfect safety upon the truthfulness of every 
representation of the author, and upon the 
exactness or honesty of every one of his cita- 

So far, it is confidently believed, there will be 
but one opinion and one sentiment among the 
readers of this volume. When they look upon 
the import and purpose of the book, on the con- 
trary, it is not to be expected that there will 
be the same unanimity. It cannot be denied, 
nor is it attempted to be concealed, that, though 
the work is chiefly historical, and deals in facts, 
the facts are presented with the design of con- 
structing out of them a thorough historical ar- 
gument in favor of ministerial education in the 


Methodist Episcopal church, as well as in all 
other churches. On this point there have been, 
and there yet are, some differences of opinion, 
in the ministry of oui- denomination ; and yet 
those differences, when carefully examined, do 
not seem to be as great, or as important, as they 
are generally appreliended. 

No one of us denies, for example, that, before 
a man has a right to enter the holy office, and 
perform its sacred functions, he must be well 
satisfied, by the best of evidence, that he has 
received a call from God to that high work. 
That call is not a mere impression that the sub- 
ject of it can do a great deal of good by enter- 
ing into the Christian ministry ; or that he may 
be able to do as much good in it as in any other 
walk of life ; or that he may enjoy himself and 
be happy and successful in it ; or that his breth- 
ren and acquaintances think he is well adapted 
to the profession as a profession, and ought to un- 
dertake it. No reasons or inducements of this 
sort will answer the requisition, or justify a man 
in becoming a minister of the gospel. The true 
idea of a Christian minister is, according to 
every epithet applied to him, that he is a person 
expressly employed by God to perform a par- 


ticular and peculiar work for him. He is some- 
times called a messenger, a herald, an evangel ; 
but no one becomes a messenger, to carry news 
for another person, until he is specially employed 
to do so. He is sometimes called a servant, — 
of course a voluntary servant, — a servant of 
Jesus Christ ; but no man becomes such a ser- 
vant until, by some overt act of the master, he 
is made one. If, out of a group of children, a 
father calls one to go for him and do a piece 
of service, two, or three, or even more may rmi, 
but only one is sent, only one goes officially, 
only one can speak in the name of the father. 
So, in the Christian ministry, as we all agree, 
a man must be expressly called ; he must know 
that he is called ; and then he must speak, and 
can speak, not his own words, but the words 
of Him that sent him. 

But, in selecting a child, as has been here sup- 
posed, would an intelligent father, would a wise 
and good parent, make choice of one too small, 
or too weak, or too ignorant to perform the re- 
quired service ? Or, if unqualified at the mo- 
ment, would he not, if he could, give him all 
needed qualifications for the duty ? This is the 
great question, and I have endeavored to state 
b* 2 


it in its full force, that it may be met and an- 
swered fully. 

Let us look, reader, into a well-regulated 
household, and draw to ourselves such a scene 
as happens every day in domestic life. The 
father has a work which he is about to assign 
to a member of his family. He calls his son, 
lays out the matter to him, and then directs 
him to get in readiness for the undertaking as 
soon as possible. The father tells him, it may 
be, what preparation will be necessary, and 
how and where it may be made to the best 
advantage, and is sure, it seems to me, to charge 
the son not to enter upon the work until he has 
duly qualified himself to execute the commission 
given him. 

Suppose, now, that the son goes out without 
due preparation. Suppose that, after having 
golie through with the piece of service given 
him, as well as he could with a faulty prep- 
aration, but still with less success than he might 
have had, he returns to the father, and gives an 
account of his performance. 

"You have done something," says the father, 
" but not what you might have done, nor what 
I expected you would do." 


" I have done as well as I could," replies the 
son, " with the means at my command when 
engaged in the business." 

"Yes," says the father, "but the means you 
took with you were not sufficient, not commensu- 
rate with the magnitude and difficulties of the 

" True, my father," rejoins the son, " but they 
were all the means I had when you called me, and 
you gave me nothing more." 

" Gave you ! that is," says the father, " I did 
not go and get the implements, and put them into 
your hands ! But you knew where they were ; 
you knew that you could have any thing you 
wanted ; you knew, or might have known, that 
you would need more than you had about you at 
the precise moment when I called you. Did you 
expect me to go and gather them up for you, and 
bind them upon you, and treat you as an ignorant 
beast of burden, and not as an intelligent human 
being ? You knew very well that I had trusted 
you with a very delicate, difficult, and decisive 
piece of business ; that, to execute it properly, 
you would need a careful and critical prepara- 
tion ; that the means of that preparation were all 
about you ; that I was not so unwise, nor improv- 


ident, as to wish you to go to do my work with- 
out it ; and, what is still more, that it is not my 
custom, in the management of my affairs, to equip 
my servants with my own hands, without any care 
or cooperation on their part. I tell them what is 
to be done ; I assign to each one his task ; I fur- 
nish them fully with every necessary article of 
use ; and expect them then to make themselves 
ready, without delay, to do what I have command- 
ed them, as speedily and as perfectly as possi- 

It matters not, so far as the argument is con- 
cerned, whether the service required, in the exam- 
ple given, be a trivial or a great one. Let us 
suppose it to be a very trivial thing. The father 
wants the child to run half a mile for him and 
convey a message. The child, thoughtless of 
what lies before him, starts, it is most likely, 
without hat or shoe, or a proper understanding of 
what he is to say when he gets to the place ap- 
pointed. " No," says the father, " go in and get 
yourself ready." The child obeys, and when he 
again presents himself, the father repeats to him, 
over and over, the idea of which he is to be the 
vehicle. It is plain that, in this case, the message 
is the father's; but the preparation, though sug- 


gested and provided for by the parent, was the 
boy's. The preparation, too, is made before the 
errand is begun. This is nature. This is the 
course dictated by common sense. 

Let us suppose, on the other hand, that the 
thing to be done is something of great magni- 
tude and importance. Let it be a profession or a 
a business for life. The father wishes the son to 
practise law, and chooses this work for him. 
Does the father wait till the hour arrives when 
the profession is actually to begin, and say, " Son, 
from this moment you must practise law ? " Does 
he not rather say, some time before the period 
when the duties of the bar are to commence, 
" Son, my desire is that you should study law ? " 

All this, however, implies a very essential thing, 
which has not yet been granted. It implies that, 
when the divine call is given to a man, the call 
itself does not necessarily signify, whether the 
man is to go out immediately, or whether time is 
not allowed him to prepare to go. In the ordi- 
nary affairs of life, there would be no dispute 
respecting such a question. There would be no 
question. Every person of ordinary sense would 
say, if the individual called to do a secular work 
is not fully qualified to do it, at the moment when 


the call is made, he must prepare himself for it, 
before undertaking it, or be guilty of presump- 
tion ; but that, on the contrary, if he is qualified, 
if he has a previous preparation, he may go at once. 
The same is true, as it seems to me, of the ministe- 
rial call. 

It may be asked, at this point. What is to be 
understood by this heavenly call ? Does God call 
men to preach the gospel, or to prepare to preach 
it? Both, I answer, accordingly as they are 
ready, or not ready, to begin to preach. There 
seems to be no little mystification in the minds of 
some in relation to the nature of this call. Does 
any one suppose, can any one suppose, that the 
call is so definite as to imply and carry in itself 
every thing in respect to time, place, manner, 
and circumstance ? Does it sa}"-. Thou must 
preach a sermon this moment ? Does it say, Thou 
must preach in America, or in Great Britain, or in 
India? Does it say. Thou must be a Methodist, or 
a Baptist, or a Presbyterian preacher ? Does it 
positively say, Thou must preach now, just as thou 
art, without tarrying a moment to get in readi- 
ness ? Does it not rather say, when the trembling- 
Christian is deciding the great question as to how 
he can do the most for the cause of God and the 


■world, Thou art to be God's messenger ; all work 
inconsistent with this calling must be laid aside ; 
arise, get thee ready, and go into it ? 

If this be so, the actual time to be spent, or 
means to be employed, in getting^ ready, will 
depend entirely upon the condition of the individ- 
ual called, and upon the circumstances surround- 
ing him at the moment. If he has had, like Saul 
of Tarsus, the previous training, he will only need 
to stop a few days in Damascus to be told, by 
some devout man employed of God, " what he 
must do." If, on the contrary, he is young, like 
Samuel, or ignorant, as Peter, he must tarry some 
years with Eli, or a shorter period upon the mount, 
in the study of the word, before he can become 
himself a prophet, or a successful " fisher of men." 

It is still a question, perhaps, in the mind of the 
reader, how much preparation, whether received 
before or after the call, a man should have to fit 
him for the ministerial work. This will depend 
very much on the circumstances of the case. A 
man may be a sailor ; but the skill and knowl- 
edge required of him will differ very much ac- 
cording to the place, manner, and occasion on 
which he is to exercise liis craft. He may be 
called to sail across the ocean, or along the coast, 


or up and down the rivers. He may sail as a 
merchantman, or as a ship captain of the navy, or 
as a discoverer and explorer in seas but seldom 
visited and little known. He may go out before 
the mast, or behind it, or at the helm, or as physi- 
cian, or as carpenter, or as clerk, or as the highest 
or lowest officer of the vessel. The knowledge 
demanded of him will depend on the particular 
department of the work of sailing which he at- 
tempts to occupy. So in the Christian ministry. 
One man feels inclined to go to China, or to 
Japan, or to Germany, or to France ; but not 
without having made a previous preparation pe- 
culiarly requisite in his peculiar field. Another 
man sees his way clearest to stay at home ; but 
the people where he dwells, in his day and gener- 
ation, may be very indifferent as to the language 
their preacher uses, or the depth or shallowness 
of his thoughts, if he can only talk ; or they may 
be so exact in their knowledge, and so refined in 
feeling, that nothing but a very great accuracy of 
matter and manner will satisfy them, or do them 
good. In every respect imaginable, there is the 
utmost variety of demand ; and the demands of 
one age are changing into the demands of another 
age all the time. Only one thing is fixed. The 


man, whatever be his circumstances, should thor- 
oughly understand his work, because it is the 
most momentous work ever done by man. 

There is another question, however, that rises 
up, the moment that this last one is settled. 
Where, in what way, by what means, shall this 
needful preparation be effected? It is not dis- 
puted, the objector claims, that preparation, even 
great preparation, is required for so great a 
work ; but all this can be accomplished, he main- 
tains, while the preacher is engaged in his daily 
toil. The arguments of this class can be stated 
in a proverbial form — The minister must learn to do 
his work hy doing it ; and this is entirely true, if 
properly understood, A part of the minister's 
business is to explain the Bible ; and this, accord- 
ing to our adage, he must learn to do by doiqg it. 
So of every other part of his sacred calling ; but 
it is still to be asserted, -and remembered, that 
this can be done without doing it in public. 
This is exactly what the clerical student may do, 
and does do, at school. He learns to read the 
original Scriptures by reading them ; he learns to 
interpret by interpreting them ; he learns to col- 
late and compare texts by collating and com- 
paring them ; he learns to expound by expound- 


ing ; and he learns to preach, even while at 
school, by preaching. Every thing that he will 
be called upon to do in public he first learns to 
do by doing it in private ; and he has wise men, 
experienced men, holy and devout men, to stand 
by him, to listen to him, to guide him in his 
efforts, to correct his faults, to prompt and quick- 
en his virtues, and thus greatly help him in his 
work of preparation. 

That all this can be done out of school, on the 
other hand, there is no room to doubt. It can 
be done because it has been done. It has been 
done repeatedly and successfully. The earlier 
ministry of American Methodism *is a standing 
demonstration of this fact. That ministry em- 
braced a class of men whose like the world 
had never seen, and whose equals it may never see 
again. No one may disparage them, by talking 
of a learned ministry, as if they were unqualified 
for their exalted work. Considering the peculiar 
nature of that work, and the circumstances under 
which they were called to do it, they were em- 
phatically the best prepared ministry of their 
age, either in this country or any other quarter 
of the globe. Their success proves this statement. 
The clergy of that day could not stand before 


them. They were utterly afraid of them. It 
was seldom that one of them dared to stand up 
alone against one of our stalwart itinerants. 
Sometimes, however, very frequently at first, a 
number of them would fly together at some 
point, where they expected a visit from one 
of our mighty men ; but, when the mighty man 
appeared, the rabble of clerical gentlemen, 
learned, refined, genteel, and very graceful and 
goodly in their fashion, were swept away like 
so many feathers by the wind. Every where 
this vanguard legion of our thundering hosts 
held sway, until a continent, once given up to 
heresies, or armed to the teeth for the defence 
of erroneous doctrines, or lost in infidelity and 
ungodliness, was subdued, if not conquered, and 
handed over in glorious triumph to the care 
and possession of their successors. 

Still, this great fact, acknowledged in all its 
strength, proves nothing against, as the one 
next preceding it proves nothing for, the edu- 
cation of ministers in ministerial schools. They 
both prove, Avhen taken together, that a man 
may learn w^hat he ought to know either in a 
biblical seminary, or out of it, according to his 
circumstances, if he has sufficient power of pur- 


pose. They do not show that a ministry is the 
worse for being educated in a seminary, nor that 
another is any the better for being educated 
outside of one. They do not show that the 
scholastically educated portion of our early 
ministers were not better for their education, 
nor that the other portion would not have been 
abler ministers, able as they were, if they had 
had similar advantages. They do not show 
that John Wesley was any the less useful be- 
cause he graduated from Oxford, nor that Adam 
Clarke, or Richard Watson, mighty as they were, 
would not have been still more mighty if they 
had enjoyed the educational privileges of John 
Wesley. Nor do they prove that the settled 
clergy of this country, in early times, yrere weak 
because of their education, or that our own vet- 
erans were strong because they had not been 
reared among books and schools. In neither 
of these instances is the one fact the cause of 
the other fact. The two facts only happened 
to come together. Wesley would have been a 
strong man without a college education ; but 
no one can say that he was not very much 
stronger with it. Clarke would have been a 
man of deep and various learning had he spent 


ten years at Cambridge ; and it is not possible 
for any one to prove, if to believe, that he \ras 
as learned or as useful as he would have been 
had he had that amount of close, consecutive, 
thorough college training. The weakness of 
the American clergy, in the early days of Meth- 
odism, was not their learning, but their worldly 
spirit, their want of high and holy purpose, 
their ignorance of true piety ; and the strength 
of our Spartan band, at the same period, was 
certainly not their lack of scholastic discipline, 
but the irresistible resolve, the flaming zeal, the 
burning love engendered in their hearts by a 
heart-renewing and heartfelt religion. Where 
this religion and that learning met together in 
the same persons, as in Wesley, Fletcher, Clarke, 
Coke, Benson, there was a double power, a 
double usefulness, as the history of that age, 
and the history of every age, have demonstrated ; 
while it is equally true, that neither the religion, 
nor the learning, though both are the gift of 
God, can come to us, or grow in us, without our 
personal cooperation. 

It has been said, indeed, that all needed quali- 
fications come to us with the call, without any 
exertion on our part ; but this is simply fanati- 


cism, as Mr, "Wesley himself has declared. It 
is contrary to all facts and all analogies. The 
husbandman sows his seed, and waits upon 
the powers of nature, which are but the powers 
of God, to give it growth ; the seaman launches 
his ship, and spreads his sails, and calls for the 
winds of heaven to come and fill them, and push 
him to his destined port ; the mechanic, the 
artisan, in all their varied works, are but uniting 
their skill to the rude material previously pre- 
pared for them by an almighty hand ; and, in 
the same manner, according to the universal 
order of the divine government, in secular and 
in sacred things, a sinner repents that God may 
save his soul, and a minister studies that he may 
learn God's works, and ways, and will. So 
universal is this law, that a man can accomplish 
nothing for himself, even in worldly matters, 
without personal exertion ; and, as the Scriptures 
every where clearly teach, and the history of 
the church militant most positively proves, when 
any thing has been done, or is to be achieved, 
in the religious world, it is the " sword of the 
Lord and of Gideon " — God's power and man's 
instrumentality united — that does the work. 
Whether, however, this work of acquiring a 


ministerial education is to be performed in a 
biblical seminary, or out of it, is not a question 
to be decided a priori from elements existing 
within itself, but from the external circumstances 
of the case. Some may not have the time, others 
not the means, and others not the opportunity, 
to be regular students at a school. Where the 
time, the means, and the opportunity are all 
favorable, or where the individual can do the 
work at school, there is no question but the 
question of expediency that remains undeter- 
mined. The pupil simply inquires where he 
can get the necessary learning quickest, cheap- 
est, best ; and the answer is the answer of anal- 
ogy, experience, and common sense. If a per- 
son wishes to learn how to make a watch, he 
does not go to carrying or selling watches, for 
this would teach only how to carry and to sell ; 
but he goes into the workshop, where watches 
are manufactured, and where there are those 
who can tell him exactly how good watches as 
well as bad watches are made and put together. 
He there learns the business, and comes out a 
skilful watchmaker, and commences the busi- 
ness of making watches, because he has learned 
how to make them. He might, it is true, have 


taken up tlie business of his own head ; and, if 
more than commonly ingenious, he might have 
become a good watchmaker by himself. But 
■would he not have wasted, for the want of good 
instruction, a large portion of his time and toil ? 
So of every kind of business. So of every pos- 
sible profession. Men may become good lawyers, 
and good physicians, without attending schools 
of law, or schools of medicine, or studying un- 
der gentlemen learned in these professions. But 
what says all experience, what says common 
sense, about the economy of such a course ? 
What is the uniform practice, in all countries, 
at the present day ? "What has been the prac- 
tice for the last two thousand years ? In all 
business, in every profession, do not those who 
wish to learn study, for a longer or shorter 
period, at the beginning of their career, with 
those who know ? And as one man is not likely 
to be equally expert in every department of his 
profession, — as he cannot, in his own house, or 
while engaged in general business, give the ne- 
cessary attention to a pupil even in what he 
understands the best, — why is it not reasonable, 
why is it not wise, why is it not entirely the bet- 
ter plan, to set up several of these professional 


gentlemen together, and make it their only busi- 
ness to teach those who have a desire and a need 
to learn ? As we do so in teaching and in learn- 
ing every other thing, why not in teaching and in 
learning what a minister of the gospel ought to 

All that can be acquired, nevertheless, at a 
college, or at a biblical seminary, is only a begin- 
ning of what a good and growing minister will 
feel inclined, if not impelled, to learn. A great 
deal of harm has been done to the cause of learn- 
ing by talking of " getting an education," gen- 
eral and professional, at these institutions ; as if 
an education for life, perfect and entire, is to be 
obtained as a person would obtain a coat ready 
made, by staying a few years at school. A man 
who has thus acquired what he considers a " fin- 
ished education " is a man that will be shunned, 
and that ought to be shunned, all the days of his 
after life. He has completed his studies ; and he 
will now most likely be a drone, an idler, a busy- 
body, a seeker of high places, gradually becoming 
more and more ignorant, as the world around 
him becomes more knowing, till the day he 
dies. There is no such thing as "a finished 
education. We are capable of learning, and we 



are bound to learn, every day and hour, as long as 
we lire ; and in the future world, where the veil 
shall be taken from our vision, and the glasses, 
through which we now "see darkly," shall be 
removed, we shall increase in knowledge, as in 
goodness, while the ages roll. Let no man, 
therefore, whether he goes through the ministerial 
curriculum in the seminary, or on horseback, cease 
to study Avhen that certain elementary task is 
done. Let every one every where carry his 
books, his studies, his meditations, with him to the 
end of his earthly course. Let every minister, 
young, middle aged, and old, " study to show him- 
self approved unto God, a workman that needeth 
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of 
truth." In every part of his career, whether he 
has learned much or little, therefore, let him press 
forward with constantly accelerating zeal ; and, 
at those moments when he makes his largest 
acquisitions, let him not be satisfied, but encour- 
age his heart with those words, which, once used, 
became the motto of the great discoverers of our 
continent — " Tliere's light, light aJiead ! " 

Such are some of the thoughts and considera- 
tions, only a few of which, however, could be pre- 
sented in so brief a compass, which have brought the 


writer of these pages to the deliberate conviction, 
that no man has a right to preach who has not been 
called ; that the call docs not necessarily qualify 
the subject of it, excepting as to the authoritative- 
ness of his holy mission, and the unction it brings 
with it, for the daily duties of the profession ; 
that, like all good things here below, spiritual as 
well as temporal, the needful qualifications have 
to be acquired by the personal efforts of the 
individual ; that, though there is no a priori rea- 
son, or principle per se, to decide whether these 
efforts ought to be made in a seminary, or out of 
it, analogy, experience, and common sense concur 
in determining the question, in most cases, on the 
side of the positive and well-directed discipline 
of a ministerial school ; but that the advantages 
of these schools should be used only as a help at 
the beginning of the minister's studious career, 
leaving him, when they are past, a lifetime of 
still more diligent and constantly growing zeal in 
studying into the deep things that a teacher of the 
" mysteries of the kingdom " ought to know : — 

" The clouds may drop down titles and estates, 
Wealth m&j seek ns, but wisdom must be sought." 



Schools in the Early Ages. — Ministerial Education 
in the Jewish Church. — First secured by Means of 
the Levitical Schools. — The Levites the divinely-ap- 
pointed Religious Teachers of the People. — liifer- 

Ministerial education arose -with the formal 
establishment of the priestly office under the Mo- 
saic economy. Anterior to this, the priesthood 
does not appear to have been regularly organized 
as a distinct class. The father of a family was 
both priest and patriarch in his own house. 

There were, doubtless, schools for instruction 
both in divine and secular learning, anterior to 
the time of Moses. The fact that books were 
made,^ and writing generally understood, in the 

' Gen. V. 1. Book of the Generatiotis seems to show that the an- 
tediluvians kept their family records. Josh. xv. 15. See also Judg. 
i. 11, 12. "iSD'CT^^p' Book City, the name of a Canaanite city. 
See, on the antiquity of writing, " Ancient Egypt," by G. R. Glid- 
don, and the great works of ChampoUion and Rosellini. 


East before this time,^ (Deut. xi. 19, 20, xxiv. 
1-3, xxxii. 6, 7,) seems to imply this. 

It pleased God to choose the tribe of Levi, 
instead of the first born, to be devoted to himself, 
to perform the rites of the sacred office, and to 
act as the civil and religious teachers of the 
tribes. The idea that the priests and Levites 
were not public religious teachers, and that teach- 
ing was no part of their duty, as has been recent- 
ly contended by Professor Stuart, in his work on 
the Old Testament, p. 85, also by Rev. J. F. Den- 
ham, in Kitto's Cyclopasdia of Bibical Literature, 
art. Priest, I cannot regard as entirely correct. 
That the Levites were called to be the teachers 
of the people, in addition to the performance of 
the Jewish ritual, appears from the following 
scriptures and Scripture incidents. 

1. In Deut. xxxiii. 9, 10, it is said, " They" (the 
children of Levi) " shall teach Jacob thy judgments, 
and Israel thy law. They shall put incense before 
thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar." 
This is a very beautiful compend of the duties 
of God's chosen tribe, first, to teach his people ; 
second, to perform the duties of the sanctuary. 
Specific directions as to the mode and matter of 
preaching or teaching were not needed, for this 
was well understood, while directions in regard 

' And these words, which. I command thee this day, shall be in thy 
heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and 
Shalt talk of them when thou sittest io thy house," &c. Deut. xi. 
19 ; xxxii. 6. 


to the ritual were needed. For the ritual was 
new, and designed to be peculiar and distinct 
from any thing then existing in the world. 

The first school was that of the family, such as 
is referred to in Deut. vi. 6, 7, " And these words, 
which I command thee this day, shall be in thy 
heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto 
thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou 
sittest in thy house," <fec. The heads of the family 
were the teachers of their children and domestics. 
(Prov. vi. 20.) 

The second class of schools was that of the 
learned men ; where one or more of the more 
learned among the people gathered around them 
the young, and others who chose to attend their 
lectures, and instructed them. It is scarcely sup- 
posable that a religious people, with a written 
law, and with other books, — some of which are 
mentioned, as The Book of the Generations, (Gen. v. 
1,) The Book of the Wars oftlie Lord, (Num. xxi. 14,) 
The Book of Jasher, (Josh. x. 13 ; 2 Sam. i. 18,) — 
and a large portion of which people were able to 
read and write, (see Deut. vi. 9,) and a twelfth part 
of whom were set apart as priests of God, and as 
teachers of his law, would be altogether without 
schools. There must have been schools accessible 
to the Jewish people in their earliest history ; 
otherwise they could not have been able to read 
and write to the extent implied in Deut. vi. 9. 
It appears very probable that, in connection with 


this class of teachers, the Levites did much for 
popular instruction. 

2. But there are left on record some directions, 
to which we would briefly refer. In Deut. xxxi. 9, 
13, it is said, " And Moses ^vrote this law, and de- 
livered it unto the priests, the sons of Levi ; . . . 
and Moses commanded them, saying, At the end 
of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year 
of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all 
Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God, 
in the place he shall choose, thou shalt read this law 
before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people 
together, men, and women, and children, and thy 
stranger that is within thy gates, that they may 
hear, and that they may learn," &c. This solemn 
periodical instruction was committed to the Le- 
vites ; and the spirit of this ordinance, as Dean 
Graves well remarks, bound them to take care, at 
all times, that the aged should be improved, and 
the children instructed in the knowledge and fear 
of God, the adoration of his majesty, and the ob- 
servance of his law ; and for this purpose the 
peculiar situation and privileges of the tribe of 
Levi, as regulated by the divine appointment, ad- 
mirably fitted them. 

3. They were the public teachers of the people, 
and they were the only ones, till the times of the 
prophetic order, which does not appear to have ex- 
isted as such till the days of Samuel. They were to 
be " divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel." 
They were to have " no inheritance with their breth- 


ren." Forty-eight cities were set apart for them, 
as nearly as possible at the central points of the 
land, from Kadesh, at the extreme south, to distant 
Bashan and Asher on the east and north. This 
could not have been done for the performance of 
the Jewish ritual merely, for this could be per- 
formed only at one place, viz., at the seat of the 
tabernacle. No assignable reason, therefore, ap- 
pears, why the Levites were thus scattered, except 
that they might act with greater advantage in the 
work of teaching the people — acting as their 
priests and jurisconsults through all the land. 

4. In further confirmation of this position, I 
would refer the reader to the following passages : 
" The priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they 
[the people] should seek the law at his mouth, for 
he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts." (Mai. ii. 
7.) In 2 Cliron, xv. 3, Israel is spoken of, in a sea- 
son of great declension, as being " without the true 
God, and without a teaching priest." In Hos. iv. 
6, the people are represented as " destroyed for 
lack of knowledge,^' and this through the ignorance 
and fault of the priests. In Micah iii. 11, the 
priests are accused of " teaching for hire" which 
is charging them with perverting their office as 
teachers for the purposes of gain. In 2 Chron. 
xvii. 7-9, it is said Jehoshaphat sent " Levites and 
priests," as the most appropriate persons, " through 
all the cities, and they taught in Judah, and had 
the book of the law with them, and taught the 


people." When the captives returned from Baby- 
lon, we find the Levites entering upon their 
ancient office, " teaching the people, and causing them 
to understand the law." (Neh. viii. 7.) 

From the above Scripture facts, the following 
inferences are clearly deducible : — 

1. That the priests and Levites were charged 
with the national instruction of the people, both 
religious and secular. 

2. That, as teachers, they must themselves have 
first been taught. 

3. That the forty-eight cities in which they re- 
sided were, as the learned Lightfoot says. " so 
many universities." ^ 

4. That the Levites went forth from these cen- 
tres of light, itinerating through the land, teach- 
ing the people the law of God. 

5. That the young men of the tribe were trained 
up in a careful knowledge of the law, — not in the 
labors of the field, — that they might, in due time, 
take the place of their fathers in the sacred office. 

6.' That the priests and Levites were the regu- 
lar and ordinary ministry of the church of Israel. 
The prophets were the extraordinary religious 
teachers. For at some times there were no proph- 
ets, and the prophets sent the people to the priest 
for instruction. (Hag. ii. 11. Mai. ii. 7.) 

We conclude, therefore, that ministerial educa- 
tion by human means was provided for, and most 
munificently provided for under the Mosaic econ- 

• Works, vol. V. p. 120. 


omy, inasmuch as one -whole tribe was set apart 
•with abundant means of support for the special 
and exclusive service of religion. Cities were 
given to this tribe to dwell in, and being released 
from the labors of the field, they gave themselves 
to spiritual services, among which prayer and the 
study of the Holy Scriptures were doubtless prom- 
inent exercises. We would remark, in closing 
this chapter, that the priesthood under the Mosaic 
economy were called of God to this office. Moses 
received a command to consecrate Aaron and his 
sons to the priest's ofi&ce. (Ex. xxviii. 41.) They 
were to be washed at the door of the tabernacle 
of the congregation, as an emblem signifying that 
they should be pure who bear the vessels of the 
Lord — pure both as to their inward spirit and 
their outward conduct. Whatever be the value 
of human learning, nothing can compensate for 
that inward divine teaching — for the callings and 
qualifications of the Holy Ghost. We admire the 
following sentences of Mr. Newton : " None but he 
who made the world can make a minister of the 
gospel." " If a young man has capacity, culture 
and application may make him a scholar, a phi- 
losopher, or an orator ; but a true minister must 
have certain principles, motives, feelings, and aims, 
which no industry or endeavors of men can either 
acquire or communicate. They must be given 
from above, or they cannot be received.^ • 

• Newton's Works, vol. v. p. 62. 



The Prophet Schools, a new Mode of Ministerial Edu- 
cation. — Cause of their Origin. — Their Location. 
— TJieir Instruction. — JVumbcr of Students. — How 
supported. — Their Dwellings. — Sometimes their 
Members married Men. — Continuance of this Form 
of Ministerial Education. — Inferences. 

A NEW mode of ministerial education arose in the 
days of Samuel, by means of the propliet schools — 
in distinction from the schoofe of the Levites. 

The Levitical schools in his time had lost much 
of their primitive purity and power. Hence God 
raised up another order of men, the prophets, of 
whom Samuel was the head, to carry on his work, 
and to perpetuate his knowledge and fear in the 
earth. The corrupt and wicked house of Eli had 
brought discredit upon the Levitical orders, and 
it was fitting that another order should arise to 
minister to the people, as their spiritual teachers. 
Hence arose the schools of the prophets.^ Samuel 

1 " After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the gar- 
rison of the Philistines : and it shall come to pass, when thou art 
come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company * of prophets 
coming down from the high place, with a psaltery, and a tabret, and 
a pipe, and a harp, before them ; and they shall prophecy : And when 
they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met 

• The original word for " compan}- " means band or school; hence we mny translate 
the school of the prophets. See note on p. 22. 


gathered around him the devoted young men of 
the nation, and presided over them, and taught 
them as a father} And according to the Hebrew 
idiom, the pupils or learners of course were 
called sons.^ (2 Kings ii. 3-5, 15 ; iv. 1, 38 ; 
V. 22, et al.) 

These schools were located in places easy of 
access, and in centres of influence. There was 
one at Naioth, near Ramah, (1 Sam. xix. 20, &c. ;) 
another at Bethel, (2 Kings ii. 3 ;) another at 
Jericho, (2 Kings ii. 5 ; ) another at Gilgal, (2 
Kings iv. 38 ; vi. 1 ; ) and another, probably, in 

him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied 
among them." 1 Sam. x. 5, 10. 

" And Saul sent messengers to take David : and when they saw 
the company of the proi^hcts prophesying, and Samuel standing as 
appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of 
Saul, and they also prophesied. And when it was told Saul, he sent 
other messengers, and they prophesied likewise. And Saul sent 
messengers again the third time, and they prophesied also. Then 
went he also to Ramah, and came to a great well that is in Sechu ; 
and he asked and said, Where are Samuel and David ? And one 
said. Behold, they be at Naioth in Ramah. And he went thither to 
Naioth in Ramah, and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he 
wont on, and prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah." 1 
Sam. xix. 20, et seq. 

' " And Elisha saw it, and he cried. My father, my father ! the 
chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof ! And he saw him no 
more : and he took hold of his o'wn clothes, and rent them in two 
pieces."' 2 Kings ii. 12. 

2 " And a certain man, of the sons of the prophets, said unto his 
neighbor in the word of the Lord, Smite me, I pray thee. And the 
man refused to smite him." 1 Kings xx. 35. 

" And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth 
to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Lord ^vill take 

2* B 


Mount Ephraim.i It is remarkable that none of 
these were Levitical cities, which seems to confirm 
the view presented above, in respect to the origin 
of the prophetic order and schools. 

As to the instruction of these schools, we have 
only a few hints left us by the sacred writers. As 
these sons of the prophets were to be the future 
teachers and pastors of Israel, they doubtless 
devoted much of their time to the study of the 
divine word. Here they learned the history of 
the world, the wonderful dealings of God with 
their ancestors, and the doctrines and precepts of 
their holy religion. They doubtless studied the 
Jewish ritual in its deepest meanings, teaching 
purity and salvation through the Messiah that was 
to come. Also as the Jewish civil code is in- 
separably connected with religion, they doubtless 
became expert in all the civil knowledge of their 

away thy master from thy head to-day ? And he said, Yea, I know 
it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry 
here, I pray thee, for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he 
said, As the Lord liveth, and a3 thy soul liveth, I will not leave tEee. 
So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were 
at Jericho ciime to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that 
the Lord ^^ill take away thy master from thy head to-day ? And 
he answered. Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace." 2 Kings 
ii. 3^. 

• " And he said. All is well. My master hath sent me, saying. 
Behold, even now there he come to me from Mount Ephraim two 
young men of the sons of the prophets ; give them, I pray thee, a 
talent of silver, and two changes of garments." 2 Kings v. 22. 


Instruction in music and sacred song was also 
much attended to in these schools.^ 

The number of the sons of the prophets was often 
large. Obadiah hid one hundred of them in a 
cave to save them from the wrath of the cruel 
Jezebel .2 And at the translation of Elijah there 
were fifty sons of the prophets gathered together 
to witness this glorious scene.^ 

These schools were supported, in part at least, 
by the contributions of the pious. After the re- 
bellion under Jeroboam, the Levites and priests 
left the territory of the ten tribes, not being 
willing to conform to the idol worship of Jero- 
boam. The prophetic orders, therefore, naturally 
took their place as the religious teachers of the 
people, and the contributions which before were 
given to the Levites were now given to them.^ 
Obadiah himself protected and fed one hundred 
of them in a cave. (1 Kings xviii. 13.) And in the 

' Sec note 1, p. 16. 

' "Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets 
of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifty 
in a cave, and fed them with bread and water ? " 1 Kings x^•iii. 13. 

3 " And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood to 
view afar off; and they two stood by Jordan. And when the sons of 
the prophets which were to -view at Jericho saw him, they said, The 
spirit of Elijah doth rest upon Elisha, and they came to meet him, 
and bowed themselves to the ground before him." 2 Kings ii. 7, 15. 

* " And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the 
man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and 
full ears of com in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the 
people, that they may eat." 2 Kings iv. 42. 


times of Elisha miracles were wrought to provide 
tlie sons of the prophets with food.^ 

They also had dwellings in common, and when 
they needed additional accommodations, they la- 
bored with their own hands to accomplish their 
desire. The distress of the poor young prophet, 
who cried out, " Alas ! master, for it was* bor- 
rowed ! " when he lost his axe in the Jordan, while 
cutting timber for a new building for the sons of 
the prophets, and the miracle of Elisha, in causing 
the axe to swim, will be remembered by all as a 
pleasing and instructive incident.^ 

' " And Elisha came again to Gilgal, and there was a dearth in the 
land, and the sons of the prophets tcere sitting before liini ; and he 
said unto his seirants, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for 
the sons of the prophets. And one went out into the field to gather 
herbs, and found a vnli vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds, his 
lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage ; for 
they knew them not. So they poured out for the men to eat : and it 
came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, 
and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot ; and they 
could not eat thereof. But he said. Then bring meal. And he cast 
it into the pot ; and he said. Pour out for the people, that they may 
eat. And there was no harm in the pot. And his servitor said. 
What, should I set this before a hundred men ? He said again, 
Give the people, that they may eat ; for thus saith the Lord, They 
shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they 
did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord." 2 
Kings iv. 38-44. 

2 " And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, 
the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, 
we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and 
let us make us a place there where we may dwell. And he answered, 
Go ye. And one said. Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy ser- 
Tauts. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And 


The sons of tlie prophets were sometimes mar- 
lied inen.^ This beautiful story is full of instruc- 
tion to us of this day, as to our duty towards the 
wives of pious ministers who are left in widow- 
hood in the providence of God — a fact showing 
that men called into the sacred office, when sur- 
rounded with the cares of life, were yet called 
upon in those early times to prepare themselves 
for their work by attendance upon the instructions 
and opportunities of the prophet school. 

These schools continued, probably, till the times 

when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was 
felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water ; and he cried, and 
said, Alas, master ! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, 
Where fell it ? And he showed him the place. And he cut down 
a stick, and cast it in thither ; and the iion did swim. Therefore said 
he. Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it." 
2 Kings vi. 1-7. 

' " No>T there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of 
the prophets unto Elisha, saying. Thy servant my husband is dead ; 
and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord : and the cred- 
itor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen. And 
Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee ? tell me : what hast 
thou in the house ? And she said. Thine handmaid hath not any 
thing in the house save a pot of oil. Then he said, Go, borrow thoc 
vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels ; borrow not 
a few. And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon 
thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, 
and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him, 
and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought t?ie ves- 
sels to her, and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the ves- 
sels were full, that she said unto her son. Bring me yet a vessel ; and 
he said unto her. There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. 
Then she came and told the man of God : and he said. Go, sell the 
oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest." 
2 Kings iv. 1, et. seq. 


of the captivity, and perhaps longer — a period of 
five hundred years. A very clear reference is 
made to them in the days of Isaiah, by the prophet 
Amos. He says, " I was no prophet, neither was 
I a prophet's son, but I was a herdman," <fec. ; 
i. e., I was not brought up in the prophet schools, 
but went immediately, from following the flocks, 
into the prophetic work ; showing that, in his 
time, the ordinary method of entering the pro- 
phetic office was through the prophet school.^ 
(Amos vii. 14.) 


1. From the facts above collected, we infer, 
first, that these schools were designed to train up 
men for the sacred office, viz., that of teaching and 
enforcing morals and religion in Israel ; and also 
to continue an organized band of men to reprove 
the corruptions of the regular priesthood, and to 
keep the people from resting in a merely formal 

2. Our second inference is, that these schools 

— Tt 

1 The phrases Q-'S^'^lsari tt:T\^_> or tl^S'iiS birr. usuaUy ren- 
dered scliool of the prophets, more literally means, a school of 
preachers, or singers, as the root S<D3 means generally to pour forth 
as a fountain, hence to pour forth words, as in preaching or singing, 
in an animated manner, as if under divine influence. " And the 
Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with 
them, and shalt be tiirned into another man." 1 Sam. x. 6. See al- 
so X. 10, compared with xix. 20-24, and 1 Kings x^iii. 29, quoted 
above. Hence the signification of foretelling future events. 


were most like the theological institutions for- 
merly and now existing in the Christian church, 
while the Levitical schools were more extensive 
in their range of study, and thus more like our 

3. And finally, that they often received contri- 
butions for their support, and, in one instance, a 
miracle was wrought at Gilgal to supply the stu- 
dents with food. 

As our representation of the sacred schools 
among the chosen people of God would be quite 
incomplete without alluding to the schools, after 
the time of the prophets down to the Christian 
era, we will therefore make them the subject of 
our next chapter. 



The Levitical and Prophet Schools succeeded by tJie 
Synagogue and the Assemblies of the Wise. — 
The Beth Midrash of the Synagogue. — their usvM 
Place of Meeting. 

Before we pass to develop the later history of 
the Jewish sacred schools, I would offer a few 
remarks showing the connection of the synagogues 
with these schools. As to the origin of the syna- 
gogues, the rabbins say the synagogue was as 
early as the patriarchs. Some modern writers, as 
Professor Stuart, have contended that they were 
not known till after the captivity, and that we 
must not look for any such thing as regular 
Sabbath worship, similar to the later synagogue 
worship, previous to this time. This view is 
not entirely satisfactory. It strikes me as highly 
improbable that a pious people, one of whose 
fundamental laws was the observance of the 
Sabbath, with divinely-authorized teachers, — the 
priests and Levites scattered through the length 
and breadth of the land, — did not meet ordina- 
rily on the Sabbath for the purpose of wor- 
ship, but idly spent this holy day in their houses. 
And yet it seems to me that the arguments of 
those who contend for a later origin of the syna- 
gogue worship comes to this. 


The first clear montion of synagogues in the Old 
Testament is in Ps. Ixxiv. 8, " They have burned 
up all the synagogues of God in the land." It is 
objected, by those critics who maintain the later 
origin of synagogue worship, that the Hebrew 
term '^^3>i?^ does not necessarily mean syna- 
gogues, but places of assembling. We reply, it 
must mean here not only places but houses of as- 
sembling ; else how could they have been burned 
up ? Whether these synagogues were precisely 
the synagogues of the apostles' times may admit 
of question. But it is clear that there were 
places appointed for the assemblies of the people 
on the Sabbath, besides those of the tabernacle 
and temple. The law required that the people 
should make the Sabbath a day of holy convoca- 
tion.^ And Isaiah speaks of the solemn assemblies 
on the new moons and Sabbaths. (Is. i. 13 ; 
iv. 5.) Permit me to ask, Can it be supposed that 

' " And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the chil- 
dren of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord 
which ye shall proclaim to he holy convocations, even these are my 
feasts. Six days shaU work be done ; but the seventh day is the 
Sabbath of rest, a holy convocation ; ye shall do no work therein ; 
it is the Sabbath of the Lord in aU your dwellings. These are the 
feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim 
in their seasons." Lev. xxiii. 2, et seq. 

" And on the seventh day ye shall have a holy convocation ; 
yc shall do no servile work. Also in the day of the first fruits, 
when yc bring a new meat offering unto the Lord, after your weeks 
he Old, ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no scrvilo 
work." Num. xxviii. 2-5, 26. 



the people held these assemblies without some 
organization in the different villages, and a house 
appropriate for their worship ? The natural ne- 
cessities of the case demand something like the 
synagogue from the earliest time. However this 
may have been, it is most probable that the syna- 
gogues in the later form had their germ in the 
Levitical and prophet schools ; and about the 
times of Ezra and the later prophets, assumed the 
form in which we now find them.^ 

The use of the synagogue was not for sacrifice, 
but for reading the Scriptures, prayer, and preach- 
ing ; sometimes for courts of justice, and finally 
for sclwols of learning. In each synagogue there 
was an apartment for reading the laAV. Such a 
meeting hall is called by the Talmudists Beth 
Midrash, i. e., house of learning. 

After the cessation of the Levitical schools, the 
synagogue, with its school, must have been the 
great means of popular instruction. But this was 
not sufficient for the instruction of the professional 
men of the nation — the jurists, priests, and public 
instructors. Hence there arose, as a substitute 
for the Levitical and prophet schools, the assem- 

' The above view of the early use of sj-nagogue worship is strongly 
confirmed by Acts xv. 21, where it is said, Moses of old time (literally, 
from ancient generations) hath in every city them that preach him, 
being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. The expression 
from ancient generations seems to place the origin of the synagogue 
at a remote period. 


bides of the wise, or the elders, as they are sometimes 

These assemblies were very similar to the literary 
and philosophical societies of the present day. 
They were in the habit of meeting together and 
discussing all questions of interest, especially those 
relating to the religion and to the civil institu- 
tions of the nation. References to these assem- 
blies cannot be looked for in the Old Testament, 
as they arose after Old Testament times. We 
must therefore look for accounts of them in sub- 
sequent writings, as the Talmud, the Apocryphal 
books, the works of Philo and Joseplms, and the 
New Testament.^ As our limits will not permit 
us to quote the passages referring to them, we will 
simply subjoin a few references. Wisdom viii. 
8-10 ; Sirach xxxv. 3, &c. ; xxxix. 2,3 ; xliv. 3-5 ; 
1 Mac. vii. 12 ; 2 Mac. vi. 18. 

' " And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in 
the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them 
and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished 
at his understanding and answers." Luke ii. 46, 47. 

" Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the 
stjiiagogue of the Libertines, and CjTcnians, and Alexandrians, and 
of them of Cilicia, and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they 
were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake." 
Acts vi. 9, 10. 

" And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space 
of three months, disputing, and persuading the things concerning 
the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed 
not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed 
from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school 
of one Tyrannus." Acts xix. 8, 9. 

" I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in 


From the Talmud wc learn (Tract Sanhedrin) 
that these schools were established at Lydda, 
Pekun, Jabuch, Benebarak, Rome, Sikim, Zipporim, 
Jerusalem, Cesarea, Bethshan, Acco, Bether,,Mag- 
dala, Tiberias, Alexandria, and other places. 

In Tiberias, the most learned men of the age 
assembled to compose that famous monument of 
Jewish learning — the Talmud. Gamaliel, Paul's 
teacher, was president of the learned assembly or 
college at Jabneh, which numbered not fewer than 
three hundred and eighty students. The cele- 
brated Rabbi Judah Hakkodesh was president of 
the schools at Zipporim, in Galilee. In the same 
tract it is said, " The meeting rests upon men ; " on 
which the gloss is, Whe7}ever there are ten men whose 
occupations do not prevent them from devoting their 
whole time to sacred learning, a house for their meetings 
must he huiU. In the Jerusalem Talmud,^ a tradition 
is alleged, that there had been in Jerusalem four 
hundred and sixty synagogues, each of which had 
its Beth Midrash. There were three of these in 
the temple,^ and in all of them it was the custom 
for the students to sit on the floor, after the Orien- 
tal manner, while the teachers occupied raised 
seats ; hence Paul describes himself as having, 
when a student, sat at the feet of Gamaliel. 

Cilicia, yet brought up in this city, at the feet of Gamaliel, and 
taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, 
and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day." Acts xxii. 3. 

' Tract McgiUah. 

* Tract Chetub. 


From the facts and passages referred to above, 
we learn : — 

1. That the prophet schools were succeeded by 
the assemblies of the wise men. 

2. That such schools existed not only at Jeru- 
salem, but in places remote, as Galilee, the fron- 
tiers of Idumea, Mount Lebanon, and even in 
heathen countries. 

3. That the common meeting-place was the 

4. That the Beth Midrash, connected with the 
more able synagogues, was the professional school 
at which those aspiring to be teachers heard lec- 

5. That these assemblies of the wise must be 
distinguished as schools, not for the priests only, 
but where any eminent men of the nation, what- 
ever might be their tribe, might act as teachers. 

6. That those members most venerable and emi- 
nent for learning were chosen the presidents of 
these assemblies. 

7. That these schools were flourishing in the 
times of the New Testament ; — and we may re- 
mark that at the present day an imitation of these 
assemblies exists among all Jewish congregations 
generally, and the room where the rabbi of the 
place lectures is called, after the ancient custom, 
Beth Midrash. 

All this, permit me to remark in conclusion, is 
interesting, as bearing on the general subject of 


Ministerial Education. The Jewish people, after 
the time of the prophets, as a general thing, lost 
their spirituality. The law of God was made void 
by their traditions ; yet these schools preserved 
not only the form of religion, but also much of its 
life ; and its sacred records they have handed 
down to our times inviolate. 



An Answer to the Question, What Provisimis were made 
in the Times of the JYeio Testament for Ministerial 

In answer to the question, "Wliat provisions 
were made in the times of the New Testament for 
ministerial education ? it has been too com- 
monly taken for granted, that in the times of 
Christ and his apostles there were no provisions 
whatever made for the instruction and training of 
the first pastors and teachers of the Christian 
churcli ; and that there was no human instrument- 
ality or means used for the training of the apostles 
and their successors for the sacred office. For 
such weighty responsibilities as the early teachers 
of Christianity were called to, they needed the 
best preparation, both of divine and human aids. 
The times demanded that the apostles, in part at 
least, should be acquainted with letters, and tlic 
learning of the people to whom they were called 
to minister. It is true that these qualifications 
might have been communicated to the apostles 
directly by miraculous agency ; but it is not God's 
way to work miracles for the accomplishment of 
that which may be effected by human and ordinary 

The age was an age of learning. In Roman 


learning it was now the Augustan age — often 
called the golden age of Latin literature. The 
Romans were masters of all the East, but yet were 
themselves overcome by the letters and arts of 
Grecian genius. The study of the Greek language 
and the employment of Grecian teachers had be- 
come common with the noblest families both in Italy 
and the East. The elder Cato, although nearly 
forty years of age, had commenced the study of 
the Greek tongue ; and Cicero subsequently spent 
about ten years of his early life under the tutelage 
of the best Grecian masters. It was an age of the 
commingling of the nations. Greece had con- 
quered the East, and Rome, with her invincible le- 
gions, had overcome them both. With a com- 
mingling of the nations there was formed a mix- 
ture of the Oriental and Occidental learning. The 
Greeks sought to acquire the knowledge of He- 
brew learning, — hence the Septuagint translation ; 
and the Hebrews wished to commend themselves to 
their powerful and learned masters, — hence the 
writings of such authors as Josephus and Philo. 
Since the terrible chastisement of the Jews in 
their captivity, on account of their idolatry and 
departures from the law of God, the Jewish nation 
was more than ever interested to preserve and 
promote a knowledge of its theocratic institu- 
tions, of its ancient annals, and the burning 
words of its ancient seers. Hence arose its as- 
semblies of the wise, specially treated of in our 


last chapter ; its synagogue schools ; its Targums 
or Commentaries on the Old Testament, of which 
there are eleven now extant ; its Mishna, or col- 
lected traditions, now found in the Talmud. All 
these great works were commenced, and some of 
them completed, before the times of our Savior. 
Let us ask, in view of all this intellectual activity, 
whether it is probable that the early teachers of 
Christianity were ignorant of these things. The 
apostles certainly disputed in the schools of their 
times, and the Savior himself honored them by 
visiting and discoursing with the learned doctors, 
" both hearing and asking them questions." (Acts 
xix. 9 ; Luke ii. 46.) 

The disciples were acquainted not only with the 
common language of the country, — the Syriac, — 
but also with the Greek, as is evident from their 
writings — the Gospels and Epistles. They doubt- 
less also read the Hebrew of the Old Testament, 
as our Lord, and the apostles afterwards, constantly 
attended and performed the service of the syna- 
gogue, the most important part of which service 
was to read the Scriptures.^ From these facts, 
a partial answer to our question will at once be 

' " And Jesus went about all GaUlce, teaching in their syna- 
gogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all 
manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people." 
Matt. iv. 23. 

" And when he was departed thence, he went into their syna- 
gogue." Matt. xii. 9. 

*' And when he was como into his own country, he taught them 



inferred, viz., that the learned assembly, and the 
synagogue, the provisions of the age immediately 
preceding, were still the provisions for ministerial 
instruction among the Jews, and sanctioned by 
the Savior himself and the apostles. 

But the apostles were destined to be the teachers 
of the new and more spiritual economy of the gos- 
pel. Hence the Savior established a ministerial 
school of his own. "He called into it twelve men, 
and afterwards seventy, and instructed them in 
the doctrines and duties of the ministry they were 
about to undertake. (Matt. x. 1, &c. ; Luke x. 1, &c.) 

in their sjTiagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, 
Whence hath tliis 7nan tliis wisdom, and these mightj' works ? " 
Matt. xiii. 54. 

" And when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the 
sj-nagoguc ; and many, hearing hi?n, were astonished, saying, From 
wlience hath this niati these things ? and what ^^isdora is this which 
is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his 
hands ? " Mark vi. 2. 

" And he taught in their sjTiagogucs, being glorified of all. And 
he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up ; and, as his 
custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and 
stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book 
of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found 
the place where it was written. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ; he 
hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the 
captives, and recovering of siyht to the blind, to set at liberty them 
that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year-of the Lord. And 
he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat 
down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were 
fastened on him." Luke iv. 16-20. 

" The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his 
doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world: I 


It is true our Savior had no fixed abode for his 
school. Sometimes he delivered his discourses at 
the dwellings of his friendSj by the wayside, on the 
mountains, or in the desert waste. There was a 
reason for his thus delivering his instructions at 
various times and places. He wished to make his 
disciples practical men. It was needful for him to 
present to them an example of doing, as well as of 
teaching. Thus for three years he continued to 
instruct them in the doctrines and duties of the 
kingdom of God, and under this greatest of teach- 
ers, the disciples finished their ministerial course. 
If it be said they did not study Greek and 
Hebrew in this school, we answer, that they knew 
these sacred languages already, and therefore there 
was no need of their making them a subject of 
critical study. But they did study the Bible ; and 
Jesus, even after his resurrection, staid away from 

ever taught in the sjTiagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews 
always resort : and in secret have I said notliing." John xviii. 19, 20. 

" And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of 
God in the synagogues of the Jews : and they had also John to their 
minister. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Anti- 
och in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and 
sat down." Acts xiii. 5, 14. 

" And it came to pass in Iconium that they went both together 
into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude 
believed." Actaxiv. 1. 

" For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, 
being read in the sj-nagogues, every Sabbath day." Acts xv. 21. 

" Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and 
with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that 
met with him." Acts xra. 17. 

"And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and per- 
suaded the Jews and the Greeks." Acts x^•iii. 4. 


the heavenly glory, and for forty days instructed 
the disciples, and expounded to them in all the 
Scriptures the things concerning himself.^ Does any 
one of our readers object to ministerial schools ? 
then let him object to this school of the Savior. 
Is it objected that it is wrong for our young men 
to stay in a biblical school for two or three years, 
while souls are perishing ? then let it be objected 
also against the Savior for retaining the disciples 
for three years from the full duties of the ministry. 
Were not souls perishing then as well as now? 
"VVe may not be more wise than Christ in this 
matter, and more righteous than he. 

Is it pleaded further, that the apostles Peter and 
John were taken ^ for unlearned and ignorant men 
by the rulers and scribes. (Acts iv. 13.) We 
answer, that their being so taken by these persons 
did not make them so. They may have been un- 
learned, so far as Jewish traditional knowledge 
was concerned ; but in the Scriptures, and in the 
doctrines of Christ, there were no living men that 
were their equals. Except the apostle Paul, none 

1 " And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded 
Tmto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." 
Luke xxiv. 27. 

* xa'i y.aTaluflvutyoi on ur^QvtTtoi ayn,',fifiaTol iiOtv iSitorai, 
and haviny understood that they locre (or having taken them for) un- 
learned and x)lcbeian men, i. e., men who -were not versed in Jewsh 
traditional learning, and who had arisen from the common walks of 
life, they (the members of the Jewish council) marvelled. The pas- 
sage does not imply that they were unlearned or unlettered generally, 
but only so in the apprehension of the council, and that in the Jewish 
sense. See Bloomficld's Recensio Synoptica, vol. iv. pp. 134, 135. 


of the apostles give better evidence of general 
learning than the apostles Peter and John. With 
the exception of Paul and Luke, John wrote the 
largest part of the New Testament canon ; and 
the Epistles of Peter show a comprehensive knowl- 
edge of the Old Testament Scripture, and of Chris- 
tian doctrine, equal to that of any other portion 
of the New Testament. 

It is worthy to be remarked that, in supplying 
the place of Judas, one was chosen " who had com- 
panied with the apostles all the time that the Lord 
Jesus went in and out among them, beginning 
with the baptism of John unto that same day that 
Jesus was taken up from them." Matthias, having 
been trained up in the seminary of our Lord, was 
for this very reason deemed the most fit person to 
be chosen into the college of the apostles.^ 

The importance attached to both human and 
divine teaching, as preparatives for the work of 
the gospel, is well illustrated in the history of 

> " Wherefore, of these men which have companied with us all 
the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning 
from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken 
up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his 
resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who 
was sumamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, 
Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of 
these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry 
and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he 
might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots : and the 
lot fell upon Matthias ; and he was numbered with the eleven apos- 
tles." Acts i. 21-26. 



Paul and Luke. Paul was born at Tarsus, the 
capital of Cilicia, a city, according to Strabo,^ 
which even excelled Athens and Alexandria in 
respect to its schools of philosophy and the polite 
arts. Its learned men emigrated and settled in 
other cities, and Rome itself was filled with them. 
Paul probably received a part of his education in 
the schools of his native city. Here he may have 
become acquainted with the Greek poets, of whom 
he quotes Aratus, Menander, and Epimenides.^ 
Being of Jewish parents, he was sent to the school 
of Gamaliel, " a doctor who was had in reputation 
among all the people." (Acts v. 34 ; xxi. 3 ; 
xxiv. 1-4.) 

Another remarkable fact in the histpry of the 
apostle is that, after his conversion, he retired into 
Arabia, and remained there about three years. 
What was Paul doing there ? It can hardly be 
supposed that he was preaching the gospel in the 
desert, for we have no account of any churches 
having been founded in Arabia till several ages 
after. In the absence of direct testimony as to 
the apostle's employment in Arabia, what suppo- 
sition is more probable than that the apostle, 

1 Book xiv. 

^ " As certain also of your own poets have said, For wc are also 
his offspring.''' Acts xvii. 28. 

" E-val communications corrupt good manners." 1 Cor. xv. 33. 
From the Thais of Menander. 

" One of themselves, even a prophet of their o^vn, said, The Cre- 
tians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies." Titus i. 12. 


during this period, devoted liimself to the study 
of the Jewish Scriptures, and like John, in the 
lonely Island of Patmos, received those wonderful 
and glorious revelations from the Lord Jesus, to 
which he afterwards several times referred ? ^ 

We suppose, then, that Paul was here a pupil of 
the Lord Jesus, as his fellow-apostles had been be- 
fore him. However this may have been, it is cer- 
tain that the great Head of the Church has made 
great use of his learning, in giving to the world 
the largest part of the Holy Scriptures of the 
New Testament. 

Next to Paul is the evangelist Luke, in the 
amount he has given us of the New Testament 
writings. In Colossians,^ he is called " the be- 
loved physician ; " and according to the testimony 
of Origen and Theophylact, he was one of the 
seventy. It is certain that he was a man of fine 
culture and learning. Both the purity of his 
Greek and his profession as a physician indicate 
this. In his case then, as in that of Paul, it has 
pleased the Lord Jesus to make great use of his 
learning also, in publishing his will, having first 
instructed him in his own divine school. 

* " But God hath revealed them, unto us by his Spirit." 1 Cor. 
ii. 10. 

" It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory ; I -will come to 
visions and revelations of the Lord." 2 Cor. xii. 1. 

" I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by 
the revelation of Jesus Christ." Gal. i. 12. 

2 "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you." Col. 
iv. 14. 


From the foregoing, then, we would give as the 
answer to the question proposed in the first part 
of this chapter, that our Lord used the provisions 
then existing in the church ; viz., the synagogue 
and the assemblies of the wise, and then super- 
added his own instructions for the purpose of com- 
pleting the ministerial education of his apostles 
and evangelists. 



The Education of ApoUos. — The Apostle Paul per- 
sonally engages in instructing Candidates for the 
Ministry. — Dr. Mosheini's Exposition of 2 Tim. 

a. 2. 

We come now to inquire as to the provisions 
for ministerial education in the times of the 
apostles. We have seen that the Savior made 
use of the synagogue, and the assemblies of the 
•wise men, as well as his own instructions, in pre- 
paring his disciples for their work. This con- 
tinued to be the case, to some extent, even in the 
apostles' times. It seems highly probable that 
Apollos, who is called "an eloquent man, and 
mighty in the Scriptures," had been thoroughly 
instructed in the Jewish schools. "The term 
Xo'/ioff, rendered eloquent," says Rapheleus, " em- 
braces all learning, but has a more special refer- 
ence to eloquence ; and lest it should not be 
known in what species of science he excelled, I 
suppose the words mighty in the Scriptures are 
added epexegetically. His erudition and elo- 
quence, therefore, were great, but were both drawn 
from the sacred Scriptures." 

Apollos was a native of Alexandria, the most 
important city, in many respects, of the whole 
world. It was founded by Alexander the Great, 


and was the capital of his mighty empire. Under 
. the fostering care of the Ptolemies, it became the 
seat of- literature and science. Its libraries were 
the largest in the world ; two of which contained 
700,000 volumes. Here was a temple of the Jews, 
which rivalled that at Jerusalem. Its synagogue, 
with its school and its rabbles, was the most 
splendid of the times. The Septuagint version 
of the Old Testament is a noble monument of the 
literary labors of the Alexandrine Jews. Here, 
also, the great Philo, the celebrated teacher of Juda- 
ism to the pagan Greeks, was born and flourished. 
Under such favorable circumstances and influ- 
ences, Apollos received his early training. He 
was afterwards converted to Christianity, and his 
Christian education seems to have been com- 
pleted under the private instructions of Aquila 
and Priscilla, themselves having been previously 
instructed by the apostle Paul.^ Apollos was a 

1 " And a certain Jew, named Apollos, bom at Alexandria, an 
eloquent man, and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This 
man was instructed in the way of the Lord ; and, being fervent 
in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the 
Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak 
boldly in the synagogue ; whom when Aquila and Priscilla had 
heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way 
of God more perfectly. And when he was disposed to pass into 
Achaia, the bretliren Avrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him ; 
who, when he was come, helped them miich which had believed 
through grace. For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that pub- 
licly, showing by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ." Acts xviii. 
QArQ&. See, also, the first four verses of this chapter. 


burning and shining light. By his powerful 
preaching " he mightily convinced the Jews," and, 
by some of the Corinthians, was even more highly 
esteemed than the apostle Paul. As an interestihg 
incident, it may also be mentioned that Zenas the 
lawyer, another educated man, travelled in com- 
pany with ApoUos in the labors of the gospel.^ 

The ministerial education of Timothy and Titus 
appears to have been superintended by the apostle 
Paul in person. When they were separated from 
him, he continued his instructions in his epistles to 
them, giving them various directions as to their 
studies, their private walk, and their pastoral and 
public duties. 

In the opinion of the learned Mosheim,*^ the 
apostle Paul taught Timothy and Titus, not singly 
and alone, but as candidates for the ministry are 
now taught in the society of one another. In 2 
Tim. ii. 2, he finds proof of this in these words : 
" The things thou hast heard of me among many 
witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, 
who shall be able to teach others also." Mosheim 
thus remarks upon this text : " The apostle here, 
we see, directs Timothy, in the first place, to select 
from amongst the members of the church a certain 

1 "Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligent- 
ly, that nothing be wanting unto them." Titus iii. 13. 

* Mosheim's Commentaries on the affairs of the Christians before 
the time of Constantine. Vol. i. p. 132, note 1. Vidal's trans- 


number of men who might appear to him to possess 
the talents requisite for conveying instruction to 
others, and who were persons of tried and ap- 
proved faith ; for it will not admit of a doubt that, 
by the ' faithful men' here alluded to, we ought to 
understand not merely believers, or those holding 
the faith, but persons of approved and established 
faith, to whom things of the highest moment might 
be intrusted without danger or apprehension. 

" Secondly. To the persons thus selected, he was 
to communicate and expound that discipline in 
which he himself had been instructed by St. Paul, 
' before many witnesses.' Now, it is evident that 
St. Paul could not, by this, mean that they were to 
b,e taught the mere elements, or rudiments, of the 
Christian religion ; for with these every one pro- 
fessing Christianity was of course brought ac- 
quainted ; and doubtless, therefore, those whom 
the apostle in this place directs Timothy to in- 
struct must have known and been thoroughly 
versed in them long before. The discipline, then, 
which Timothy had received from St. Paul, and 
which he was to become the instrument of com- 
municating to others, was, without question, that 
more full and perfect knowledge of divine truth, as 
revealed in the gospel of Christ, which it was fit- 
ting that every one who was advanced to the office 
of a master or teacher among the brethren should 
possess, together with a due degree of instruction 
as to the most skilful and ready method of impart- 


ing to the multitude a proper rule of faith, and 
con-ect principles of moral action. But what is 
this, I would ask, but to direct Timothy to insti- 
tute a school or seminary for the education of fu- 
ture presbyters and teachers for the church, and to 
cause a certain number of persons of talents and 
virtue to be trained up therein, under a course of 
discipline similar to that which he himself had re- 
ceived at the hands of St. Paul ? It may, more- 
over, be inferred from these words, that the apostle 
had personally discharged the same office Avhich he 
thus imposes on Timothy, and applied himself to 
the properly educating of future teachers and min- 
isters for the church ; for it appears by them that 
he had not been the tutor of Timothy only, but 
that his instructions to this his favorite disciple 
had been imparted ' before many witnesses.' . . . 
The more natural way of explaining this, as it ap- 
pears to me, is by supposing that St. Paul had un- 
der him a sort of seminary or school, which he had 
instituted for the purpose of properly educating 
presbyters and teachers, several other disciples or 
pupils besides Timothy ; and that the witnesses 
here spoken of, before whom Timothy had been 
instructed, were his fellow-students, persons des- 
tined, like him, for the ministry, and partakers 
together with him of the benefits that were to be 
derived from the apostle's tuition. It is highly 
credible, I may indeed say it is more than credible, 
that not St. Paul alone, but also all the other 


apostles of our Lord, applied themselves to the 
properly instructing of certain select persons, so as 
to render them fit to be intrusted with the care 
and government of the churches ; and consequently 
that the first Christian teachers were brought up 
and formed in schools or seminaries immediately 
under their eye. Besides other references which 
might be given, it appears from Irenaeus, {Adveis. 
Hareses,) book ii. chap. xxii. p. 148, ed. Massuet, that 
St. John employed himself at Ephesus, where he 
spent the latter part of his life in qualifying youth 
for the sacred ministry. And the same author, as 
quoted by Eusebius, Histor. Eccles. lib. v. cap. xx. 
p. 188, represents Polycarp, the celebrated Bishop 
of Smyrna, as having labored in the same way. 
That the example of these illustrious characters 
was followed by the bishops in general, will 
scarcely admit of a doubt. To this origin, in my 
opinion, are to be referred those seminaries termed 
' episcopal schools,' which we find attached to the 
principal churches, and in which youth designed 
for the ministry went through a proper course of 
preparatory instruction and discipline under the 
bishop himself, or some presbyter of his appoint- 



Dr. Moshehri's Exposition confirmed. — The JVew 
Testament Teacher, what was his Office ? — Minis- 
terial Education by the Apostles confirmed by the 
early Church Writers, as Eusebius and Jerome. 

The exposition of 2 Tim. ii. 2, by the learned 
Mosheim, given in the last chapter, is confirmed 
by other passages of this Epistle, as, e. g., 2 Tim. i. 
13, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which 
thou hast heard of me ; " and 2 Tim. iii. 14, " Con- 
tinue in the things thou hast learned, and hast 
been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned 
them." It appears, therefore, certain that Paul 
himself superintended the ministerial education of 
Timothy and Titus, and probably of many others. 

Confirmatory of this view, that the apostles pro- 
vided for the ministerial education of their can- 
didates for the holy ministry, is the fact, that there 
was a class of men in the primitive church called 
to the special business of teaching, in distinction 
from the pastoral work and preaching. It is said, 
" At Antioch were certain prophets and teachers." 
(Acts xiii. 1.) " And God hath set some in the 
church, first, apostles ; secondarily, prophets ; third- 
ly, teachers," &c. (1 Cor. xii. 28.) " And he gave 
some apostles, and some prophets, and some evan- 
gelists, and some pastors and teacliers" &c. (Eph. 


iv. 11.) x\gain : Paul bids Timothy not to give 
heed to fables and endless genealogies, as certain 
false teachers did, " who, desiring to be teachers 
of the law, understand neither what they say, 
nor whereof they aflBrm." (1 Tim. i. 7.) The office 
of the New Testament teacher seems to have nearly 
corresponded with the office of rabbi. In John i. 
38, it is interpreted by (JK^atTxaXo?, or teacher. The 
business of the rabbi was, among other things, to 
have the oversight of the school or academy, to 
teach and to decide questions of law, and to preach 
in the synagogue. 

In the primitive church, these teachers were, 
first, the ordinary catechists, who instructed those 
who were probationers for full church membership. 
In this respect the office corresponded with those 
of our Sunday school teacher and class leader 

They were, second, the public professors in the 
schools where higher degrees of instruction were 
required. Such were the teachers of the (so 
called) catechetical school at Alexandria, of which 
we shall speak more at large hereafter. These 
teachers, like the Jewish rabbi, taught the divine 
law, (1 Tim. i. 7,) and, of course, next to the apos- 
tles, became the appropriate instructors of those 
who aspired to the duties of the sacred office. 
As such, they correspond with those ministers and 
theological tutors and professors who, at the pres- 
ent day, receive young men, and personally in- 


struct them for the work of the ministry. This 
class of laborers in the early church seems to have 
been a large and respected class.^ (Acts xiii. 1.) 
And they were, equally with the ministry, to be 
supported by the contributions of the church. 
" Let him that is taught in the word communicate 
unto him that teacheth in all good things." (Gal. 
vi. 6.) 

We are not to suppose that the offices of pastor 
and teacher were always distinct. In the apos- 
tolic church, the higher office often included the 
lower. As the apostles were also evangelists, and 
ministers of the word, and teachers, so the pastors 
or elders were also very frequently teachers.^ We 
cannot resist the conclusion, therefore, that the 
apostles did concern themselves to raise up after 
them a well-instructed people and a well-instructed 
ministry ; and the office of teacher must have been 
established to aid in this great work. 

We would further add that the frequent expres- 
sions of the earlier church writers, especially Eu- 
sebius and Jerome, in regard to certain apostolic 

1 "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one 
members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to 
the grace that is given to us, ■whether prophecy, let us prophesy ac- 
cording to the proportion of faith ; or ministry, let us wait on our 
ministering ; or he that teacheth, on teaching ; or he that exhorteth, 
on exhortation ; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity ; he 
that ruleth, with diligence ; he that showeth mercy, with cheerful- 
ness." Kom. xii. 5-8. 

2 Let the reader consult Beza and Benson on Eph. iv. 11 ; and 
Owen, on the office of teacher, Works, vol. xx. p. 461. 

5 D 


men, proves the fact conclusively, that several of 
the apostles did, as they had opportunity, person- 
ally instruct men for the sacred office. For ex- 
ample, Jerome says, Polycarp was " a disciple of St. 
John ; " Papias was " an auditor of John ; " Quad- 
ratus was "a disciple of the apostles;" and that 
Irenseus was " a disciple of Polycarp" And that 
Jerome means that these men were trained up in 
t/ie schools of the apostles, is evident from the fact 
that he uses precisely the same terms in respect to 
Clement and Origen, and others, who, we know, 
were trained up in the Alexandrine school.* For 
example, he says that Clement was an auditor of 
Pantcenus, and succeeded him as head of the ecclesias- 
tical school at Alexandria ; that Origen was a disci- 
ple of Clement, &c.^ 

The apostle John, as Mosheim says,^ erected a 
school of this kind at Ephesus ; Polycarp one at 
Smyrna ; and, as is generally supposed, Mark 
founded the one at Alexandria, which was the 
most famous of them all. Dr. Murdock, in his 
note on this passage of Mosheim, has endeavored 
to throw discredit upon its statements, principally 
on the ground that the early Christian church 
was too poor to erect such schools — that is, build- 
ings for such schools. It is true, we may doubt 
whether the apostles erected buildings ; and the 

' See Jerome, De Scriptoribiis Ecclesiasticis. 
* "Vol. i. p. 101, McLean's translation ; and Murdock's Mos. vol. i. 
p. 81. 


passages referred to by Moslieim, from Irenceus 
and Euscbius,^ do not imply this ; and it is doubt- 
ful whether Dr. Mosheim intended this ; for surely 
a school may be established in a very modest 
building, or in no building at all, as was done by 
the Greek philosophers. That St. John gave in- 
structions to the neighboring clergy and others at 
Ephesus, and Polycarp at Smyrna, the passages 
referred to sufficiently show. In regard to the 
school at Alexandria, Jerome says, "It was in 
being from the time of St. Mark ; " ^ and Eusebius 
say&, "from ancient times." ^ Dr. Murdock also 
has, without good grounds, attempted to discredit 
the fact that St. Mark was the founder of the 
school at Alexandria, because no writer has de- 
clared it, except Jerome. We might just as well 
discredit the fact that Paul was beheaded under 
Nero, or that St. Bartholomew preached the gos- 
pel in the East, because only one writer of the 
early ages has recorded these facts. 

In regard to a multitude of facts of this age of 
the church, we have to depend upon the testimony 
of Eusebius alone. And though all other contem- 
porary writers omit to say any thing on that 
point, this does not invalidate, in the least, the 
clear testimony of one credible witness. Such is 
that of Jerome on this point. He testifies to the 

• Irccn. lib. ii. chap. xxii. p. 148, ed. of Masseut ; Euscb. Hist. 
Ecclcs. Ub. T. 20. 

* De Scrip. Eccles. chap, xxxvi. ^ Hist. Eccles. vi. 10. 


fact that St. Mark was tlie founder of the school, 
and Eusebius testifies that St. Mark was the found- 
er of the church at Alexandria.^ Now, we ask, 
what could be more natural than that the school 
should come into existence in connection with the 
church, in this greatest city of the world — a city 
full of learning and learned men, but yet many 
of whom were miserable worshippers of idols ? 
From all that we know of the city, the catecheti- 
cal school was necessary, from the very beginning 
of the church. It is on the same principle that 
our missionaries to the heathen find the school to 
be necessary for their members on probation, both 
before and after conversion. 

The nature of Christianity, which depends for 
its progress upon instruction, makes it necessary 
that schools should go hand in hand with the 
establishment of its churches, and of its congre- 
gations. There must be schools for its children, 
and schools for its teachers. It always has been 
so ; it always must be so. 

If our representations be correct in regard to 
the provisions made in New Testament times for 
the education of the first teachers of our holy 
religion, many of whom, perhaps all, were quali- 
fied by the heavenly x^^piCfxara, or miraculous 
gifts, what folly it is in us of this age of the 
church, without these gifts, to disregard learning 
and biblical schools ! 

' Euseb. ii. 16. 


That we may not be misunderstood, we will 
now state our view of the nature of the New 
Testament schools for ministerial instruction, in a 
few brief sentences. 

1. They were private companies of men, whom 
a living faith in our Lord Jesus Christ liad banded 
together, first under our Lord himself, and after- 
wards under the apostles and elders of the church. 

2. Their studies and lectures were on the great 
subjects of the Messiah's kingdom — its doctrines, 
duties, and relations, as presented in the Holy 

3. In this age of the church, we have no evi- 
dence that there were any buildings erected for 
these schools, or that any books were used, save 
the Holy Scriptures. The place of meeting was 
the synagogue, the church, or the private apart- 

4. There were no endowments, but the elders and 
teachers were supported by the contributions of 
the benevolent, and of those taught. (Gal. vi. 6.) 




Provisions for Ministerial Education in the Primitive 
Church. — The Alexandrine School. — Occasions of 
its Foundation. — The JVurnber of Teadwrs and 
Pupils in this School. 

Having finished our account of the provisions 
for ministerial education down to the close of 
the New Testament times, we now ask the at- 
tention of our readers to a brief account of the 
biblical schools of the early Christian church 
subsequent to this period, as provisions for minis- 
terial education. 

It should be premised that the scanty re- 
mains of those early times do not leave us a 
full and detailed account of these schools. We 
have already seen that the venerable apostle 
John, at Ephesus, spent the later years of his life 
in instructing the younger clergy in connection 
with the churches in that city and the adjacent 
neighborhoods. Polycarp, his disciple, did tlie 
same thing at Smyrna. But we must not suppose 
that these early instructors of the church had 
any thing like regular and established schools, 
such as our biblical schools of the present 
day. They were rather private establishments, 
kept in being by the great personal influence and 
abilities of their chief teachers. 


The one which comes nearest to that of a regu- 
lar and established school for the education of 
ministers was the ancient school of theology at Alex- 
andria. We have already referred to the report 
of Jerome, that this school was founded by St. 
Mark, and we have declared our opinion that it 
was so reported on the ground that St. Mark, as 
the founder of the church in that city, made pro- 
vision for the instruction of catechumens, which 
provision was afterwards extended so as to in- 
struct the youth of the church in general knowl- 
edge, and the candidates for the ministry in those 
particular branches which would best prepare 
them for their sacred work.^ 

Athenagoras was probably the first teacher of 
theological students in this school. So testifies 
Philip Sidetes.^ When and how long Athenagoras 
presided is uncertain. From all the facts we can 
collect, it must have been as early as the latter 
half of the second century, from about the year 
,160 to 181.3 

The successor of Athenagoras was Pantasnus. 
According to Eusebius, he took charge of the 
school in the beginning of the reign of Commodus, 
about A. D. 181. Under this great man, the 

J Euseb. vi. 6. * See Socrates, ^di 27. 

' For an account of tlys school, we would earnestly refer our 
readers to the very elaborate articles upon it, published in the Bibli- 
cal Repository, in the year 1834, by Rev, Prof. Emerson, of Ando- 
ver. We are indebted to this essay for many facts here stated. 


school attained a high reputation. He had been 
a missionary to India, and is uniformly spoken of 
as haying been a man of uncommon powers and 
acquisitions. Mosheim says of him, " The first 
Christian who composed explanations of the sa- 
cred volume, if I mistake not, was Pantccnus, the 
master of the Alexandrine school ; " but none of 
his writings have reached us. He died A. D. 211, 
and was succeeded by Clement. The lives of the 
great men who presided over this school for up- 
wards of two hundred years constitute one of the 
most instructive portions of the history of the 
church. For sketches of the same, we must be 
■ content to refer the reader to the first article of 
Professor Emerson, and to the original sources. 
The school continued in existence until the time 
of Theodosius the Great, A. D. 395. After this 
period, we hear nothing more of it in history. 
And as to the causes of its decline, we are not 
well informed. 


Miraculous gifts ceased from the church proba- 
bly as early as the first part of the second cen- 
tury, and the church, assailed by Jewish envy and 
heathen philosophy from without, and by swarms 
of heresies from within, began to feel the need of 
giving a regular training to her sons, to meet the 
learning and skill of these assailants. Clement 
€ays, " He who would gather from every quarter 


what would be for the profit of the catechumens, 
especially if they are Greeks, must not, like the 
irrational brutes, be shy of learning, but he must 
seek to collect around him every possible means 
of helping his hearers." Again : he says, " All 
culture is profitable, and particularly necessary 
in the study of the Holy Scriptures, to enable 
us to prove what we teach, and especially when 
our hearers come to us from the discipline of 
Greeks." i 

The occasions of its rise are thus stated by the 
great Neander : The church felt " the want of 
a scientific exposition of her faith, and of a 
Christian science. This school was frequented 
partly by those educated pagans, who, after hav- 
ing been converted to Christianity, were seized 
with a desire of devoting tliemselves, and all they 
possessed, to its service, and with this view chose 
the Alexandrian catechists for their guides ; and 
partly by young men, who, standing already 
within the Christian pale, were only thirsting 
after a more profound knowledge, and aiming to 
prepare themselves for the office of church teach- 
ers. Thus there grew up, in a manner perfectly 
spontaneous, a theological school. It was the 
birthplace of Christian theology, in the proper 
sense. Theology, as it sprung partly from the 
inward impulse of the mind, thirsting after scien- 

1 Strom, lib. vi. foL 660, c. 


tific knowledge, and partly from an outwardly 
directed apologetic interest to defend the doc- 
trines of tlie cliurcli against philosophically edu- 
cated Greeks, and against the Gnostics." ^ 

Another reason, doubtless, was to break down 
the influence of the heathen philosophic schools, 
especially in Alexandria, where .there was a splen- 
did establishment, supported by royal bounty, with 
its spacious buildings, called the Museum, and its 
libraries, surpassing all others in the world, and 
supposed to contain a copy of every book then in 
existence. Under the very shadow of such an 
establishment, the true philosophy from heaven was 
taught, with glorious success, by such men as 
Panta^nus, and Clement, and Origen, and Dionys- 
ius, to hundreds and perhaps thousands of pupils. 
These men were the ornaments of the early church, 
and, down to the present day, their writings have 
been among its principal defences. We will close 
this chapter by referring to 


History has handed down the names of fifteen 
teachers ; and it appears that sometimes only one, 
generally two, and at other times three, were em- 
ployed at the same time in this work. 

* Neander's Hist, of the Church, yoI. i. p. 529. 


From the remarks of Eusebius, it is clear that the 
number of students was, at times, very numerous. 
He saj's, for instance, of Origeu, that " so many 
flocked to him that he had scarcely time to 
breathe, one company after another coming from 
morning to evening to his school." ^ It is re- 
corded of very many of the distinguished men of 
the eastern church, that they were raised up at 
this school. " We may, therefore, regard as well 
founded," says Professor Emerson, " the lively re- 
mark of Hospinian, that multitudes, renowned for 
learning and piety, issued forth from this school, 
as from the Trojan horse, and applied themselves 
to the blessed work of the Lord, in the churches 
of the East." 

We have a few more interesting facts connected 
with this school, which we will reserve for our 
next chapter. 

' Euseb. vi. 15. 



Alexandrine School. — Why located at Alexandria. — 
Studies pursued by the Alexandrine School. — What 
Length of Time was devoted to this Course of Study. 
— Support of the Alexandrine Teachers. — Other 
Biblical Schools of the Primitive Church. 

'This inquiry is interesting, inasmucli as it suj?- 
gests some considerations of importance as to the 
location of biblical schools at the present day. 
According to our opinion, there was no location, 
in all the Christian church of that day, better 
adapted to train up young men for the gospel 
ministry, than the city of Alexandria. 

It was, in the first place, the centre of trade 
and commerce for all the east ; and the connecting 
link between the east and west. The products of 
the East Indies, of Arabia, and Egypt, had no 
other convenient outlet to the west but by the 
Red Sea, the Nile, and the canal to Alexandria. 
Such a great centre of trade brought to itself 
a great multitude from many nations. It was 
a common resort of Egyptians and Greeks, of 
Jews and Romans, of Persians and Arabs, with 
their merchants from all parts of the trading 
world. Such a place as this was of peculiar 
advantage to the rising ministry of the early 
church, by bringing them in contact with Chris- 


tians and heathen of diflferent and distant nations, 
and in affording them opportunities of preaching 
the gospel to foreigners, who, like " the dwellers 
at Jerusalem, out of every nation under heaven," 
might return with this gospel to bless their coun- 
trymen. Professor Emerson justly remarks, " that 
such considerations could not have escaped the 
notice of men like Pantaenus and Origen, who 
themselves went abroad, the one to India, and 
the other to Arabia, to preach the gospel. How 
eagerly would such a place be selected at the 
present day for a theological seminary ! How 
admirably adapted should we regard it as the 
seat of a missionary school ! " 

2. It was easy of access from all parts of the 
Roman empire, both by land and by sea — a very 
important consideration in the location of a great 
professional school, designed to supply the wants 
of many different countries. 

3. It was the seat of a powerful Christian in- 
fluence. Here was located one of the earliest and 
ablest of the primitive churches. It was a met- 
ropolitan church, with its bishops, and presby- 
ters, and deacons. Here arose a long list of 
worthies, — the great lights of the church, — many 
of whom were teachers in this school, and bishops, 
as Clement and Origen, and Dionysius and Didy- 
mus, and Athanasius, the last of whom fought 
with such vigor against the Arian heresy, that 
Athanasius contra mundum has passed into a prov- 



erb. The importance of having young men, can- 
didates for the ministry, in a location where they 
may hear the ablest preachers, and receive the 
best instruction, and where they may see the prac- 
tical operations of the Christian church on the 
largest scale, and where they may themselves be 
engaged, especially on the holy Sabbath, in the 
work of preaching the gospel, will, I think, be 
generally conceded. 

4. Alexandria was one of the most learned 
cities of the east. Its great libraries, and its 
academy of learned men, its synagogues and tem- 
ple, its religionists and philosophers, made this 
place, above all others, the most suitable for a 
great Christian biblical school, where the philoso- 
phy from Heaven might be taught by its ablest 
human masters. 


These were, first, the Holy Scriptures in the 
Greek and Hebrew originals. Eusebius calls the 
school ^i^aCxaXjiov "/spwv Xoywv, which, as Neander 
observes, may be most naturally interpreted as 
meaning a school for the expounding of the Scriptures. 
But great use was made also of the Grecian phi- 
losophy, Grecian literature and science generally 
— studies of the highest utility when rendered 
subservient to the illustration and establishment 
of Biblical truth. 


Gregory Thaumaturgus has left us an interest- 
ing account of the studies pursued by himself and 
his brother Athenodorus under Origen. He says, 
" Of Origen they learned logic, physics, geometry, 
astronomy, ethics. He encouraged them also in 
the reading of all sorts of ancient authors, poets, 
and philosophers, whether GTeeks or barbarians, 
restraining them from none, but such as denied a 
Deity or a Providence, from whom no possible 
advantage could be obtained. Btit above all, he in- 
culcated a diligent attention to the mind of God as re- 
vealed in the prophets ; he himself explaining to tJiem 
the obscure and difficult passages J^ ^ 

Such, in substance, was the course of study pur- 
sued in this school. 1st, sacred ; 2d, profane learn- 
ing, so far as it might minister to the solid in- 
struction and mental discipline of the minister 
of Christ. There was, doubtless, in some of the 
teachers of this school too great a love for Grecian 
philosophy, which sometimes led them away from 
the simplicity of the Scriptures. Yet, as a general 
thing, both the teachers and students stood man- 
fully by the orthodox faith. We inquire next, — 


On this point we have a few facts which will 
serve to lead us only to some general conclusions. 

• Orations of Gregory Thaumaturgus, quoted in Lardner's Works, 
Yol. ii. p. 610. 


After Origcn was banished from Egypt by his 
envious bishop, Demetrius, he opened another 
biblical school at Csesarea, in Palestine. Here 
" myriads," according to Euscbius, flocked around 
this distinguished teacher, and among them was 
Gregory Thaumaturgus, and his brother Athcno- 
dorus. These young men remained under the 
tuition of Origen five years. (Neander says dght 
years.) At the end of this time, they were judged 
qualified to take the charge of churches, which 
they did in Pontus. We may hence infer that 
the early fathers were in favor of a thorough 
training for the sacred office, and that five years 
were not considered too long a time for those who 
were already well instructed in Grecian and 
Roman learning, as was the case with the above- 
mentioned young men. Another interesting ques- 
tion is, — 


"We answer, By the voluntary contributions of 
the benevolent and wealthy friends of the school 
and its teachers. In the providence of God, such 
men as Ambrose, a wealthy deacon of Alexandria, 
were raised up from time to time, who freely 
bestowed their goods to support the teachers and 
the school. Ambrose not only supported Origen, 
but became the publisher of his numerous works, 


employing a great number of amanuenses to mtike 
fair copies of the same. He also purchased man- 
uscripts of the Scriptures, and, in a variety of 
ways, used his wealth to advance the cause of 
sacred learning.' 

When Constantino embraced Christianity, it is 
said he made public provision for the payment 
of regular salaries to the teachers of Christian 
schools, and gave his assistance in supporting poor 
scholars who had the ministry in view.^ 


Neander remarks, that " the Alexandrine school 
rendered itself particularly distinguished by dif- 
fusing a taste among the clergy for the thorough 
study of the Scriptures. From this, as the mother, 
several others sprung up in the Syrian church, 
whose salutary influence on the church continued 
long to be felt." Among these we have already 
referred to one founded by the presbyter Pamphil- 
ius, of Caesarea, in Palestine, A. D. 290, where 
such multitudes of students flocked to hear Origcn 
after his banishment from Egypt. Pamphilius 
founded a noble library in connection with tliis 
school, w^iich, for a century afterwards, continued 

' Neander, vol. i. p. 701. 

* Magdeburg Centuriators, Cent. IV. chap. ^-ii. p. 228 ; also chap. 
ii. p. 242r 

6* E 


in no small degree to the furtherance of biblical 
studies, being specially rich in manuscripts of the 

The limits we have prescribed to ourselves in 
this book will not permit us to speak at length 
of ministerial education at this period in other 
schools, as the one at Antioch, which may have 
existed from the apostles' times, as this church 
was then supplied with teachers, as appears from 
Acts xiii. 1. "We have only space to say, that there 
were many other schools in the primitive church for 
ministerial education. The more celebrated were 
located at Laodicea,Nicomedia, Athens, Edessa, Ni- 
sibis in Mesopotamia, Seleucia, Rome, and Carthage. 

But I am persuaded that enough has now been 
adduced, both from the Scriptures and the prac- 
tice of the primitive church, to convince all whose 
minds are capable of weighing evidence, that those 
among the Methodists of this day, who are seeking 
to establish schools for the better training of our 
young candidates for the sacred office, are only 
follovdng out a divinely-sanctioned practice. In this 
we contend that we stand on the ground of Scrip- 
ture and the practice of the primitive church ; and 
we would say further, if the primitive church, in 
its poverty, persecutions, and distresses, did establish 
and sustain such schools, much more are we of 
this generation called to the same work, who are 
sitting quietly under our vine and fig tree, with 
none to molest or make us afraid. 



Principle to be illustrated. — Christianity in the British 
Isles during the First Jiges. — Biblical School of lona. 
— Its Course of Study. — Injluena of the School. — 
Its Decline and Fall. 

Ministerial education deteriorated after the 
times of Constantiue. The Holy Scriptures were 
less and less studied, and the church generally- 
departed from the simplicity of the gospel. Court 
patronage, place, and power were the great objects 
of ambition among the chief bishops and clergy. 
The great mission of the church, the preaching of tlie 
gospel, was forgotten ; and its worship began to 
consist of a mere round of liturgical worship, and 
of rites and ceremonies. A solid education of the 
clergy, under such a state of things, was not ne- 
cessary nor desired. Schools of learning were 
greatly abandoned, and the priesthood were ed- 
ucated in the monasteries in a round of rites and 
ceremonies, of prayers and penances. The prin- 
ciple, that an ignorant and corrupt church produces an 
ignorant and corrupt ministry, and banishes from its 
care schools and learning, was fully illustrated in 
this, as it had already been in the preceding ages 
of the church. So, on the contrary, when, in the 
providence of God, the church is aroused from her 
slumbers, she begins to seek for herself a spiritual 
and a well-trained ministry. 


Thus it was with the degeneracy of the Leviti- 
cal schools, which originated in the times of Moses 
and Joshua. When the nation was aroused anew 
to the service of God, under Samuel, Elisha, and 
Elijah, then the schools of the prophets arose and 
flourished. So the first ages of Christianity, which 
were certainly the purest periods of its history, as 
we have already seen, produced and continued, at 
various localities, the proper means of ministerial 
education. These ccfhtinued to flourish till the 
commencement of the fifth century. From this 
period they generally declined, through all the 
Oriental and Occidental churches ; and so it con- 
tinued for about one thousand years. Let any 
reader of this book take any history of the church, 
e. g., Mosheim, and look over those parts relating 
to schools, and he will be surprised to see what a 
dreary waste the thousand years from the fifth to 
the fifteenth centuries present, and especially in 
regard to schools for the instruction of the clergy 
in the doctrines and precepts of the Bible. I need 
not dilate on this point. Nothing else could be 
expected than the banishment of such schools, and 
even of the Bible itself, during these long ages of 
ignorance, fanaticism, and corruption. During all 
this period we look in vain for the best expositions 
of the divine word. The woman had fled into 
the wilderness, and with her she carried the word 
of God, to be studied in solitude. As the sun of 
the Scriptures was setting on the Oriental churches, 


it was gloriously rising away to the west. The 
distant shores of Scotland and Ireland, and the 
AVestern Islands, escaped the general corruption 
which had come upon the church ; and there tlie 
pure gospel was preached, and biblical schools 
and teachers arose as early as the sixth century, 
with an extent and power of influence in those 
regions superior even to that of the celebrated 
school at Alexandria. " The desert rejoiced and 
blossomed as the rose." 

A short sketch of the history of the church in 
those regions is needful to an understanding of 
this remarkable fact. Eusebius and Theodoret 
mention the Britons as among those nations to 
whom the gospel was preached by the apostles. 
And Clemens Romanus, a companion of Paul, in- 
forms us, that he pursued his missionary labors 
" to the utmost boundaries of t/ie west J' But whether 
he actually visited Britain cannot now be de- 
termined. TertuUian, who died A. D. 216, says 
that Christianity had extended not only to those 
provinces which were subject to the Romans, but 
beyond them. " The various tribes of the Getuli, 
and the numerous hordes of the Mauri, all the 
Spanish clans, and the different nations of Gauls, 
and the regions of tJie Britons inaccessible to tlie Ro- 
mans, are subject to Christ." ^ By " the inaccessible 
regions," TertuUian probably means the northern 

I Advers. Judseos cap. vii. . . 


coasts of Scotland and Ireland. The gospel flour- 
ished in Ireland, especially, during the sixth 
century. The Irish clergy were, at this time, the 
most learned and efficient of any in the world. 
" She was an asylum for the oppressed and perse- 
cuted of other lands, and her churches increased 
and prospered greatly. So true was this, that 
Ireland, at this period, was proverbially denomi- 
nated iimda sanctorum — the island of saints." 


Among the evidences of the existence and power 
of Christianity in Ireland during the sixth century 
was the prevalence of the missionary spirit. Their 
missionaries went forth unto all the surrounding 
regions. Among others, Columba, born A. D. 521, 
after laboring with signal success in Ireland, set 
sail for Scotland. He first preached the gospel 
to the Picts, many of whom were converted 
through his instrumentality. As a reward for his 
exertions to convert this people, the king of the 
Picts gave him the island lona, one of the Western 
Islands, containing about thirteen hundred acres 
of land. Columba then went to Ireland, procured 
him twelve assistants, and built a church, with 
some huts, upon the island, and laid the foundation 
of one of the most powerful biblical and missionary 
schools that ever arose in the church. The grand 
design of the whole establishment was, to train up 


men for active service in the gospel ministry. 
Hundreds resorted to lona. Permanent buildings 
were erected, and the whole island was covered 
with churches and cloisters. 


The Bible was the great text book of the 
school. Though it had a valuable library of other 
books, yet the Bible was the great book for study. 
It is recorded of Columba, that " he was much de- 
voted to tJie study of the Holy Scriptures." He taught 
his disciples that these were our sufficient rule of 
faith and practice, and out of these all doctrines 
must be established. The venerable Bede, though 
a Catholic, says, " Tkey [Columba's disciples] were 
bound to exercise themselves in the reading of Scripture 
and the learning of psalms. They would receive those 
things only which are contained in the writings of the 
prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles." 

But the devoted Columba, it would seem, was 
not content to confine himself to the routine of 
the school. He sallied out as a missionary, and 
visited the adjacent coast of Scotland, and preached 
the gospel to its rude inhabitants ; thus instruct- 
ing his numerous pupils by practice, as well as pre- 
cept, in the work of the gospel. At the death of 
this good man, his disciple, Adamnanus, succeeded 
him in the presidency of the institution, who wrote 
the life of his venerated instructor. 



The missionaries and pastors who "went out 
from this school scattered themselves over all the 
British Islands, and to some extent on the conti- 
nent. But the all-absorbing power of Rome met 
their labors as they advanced southward into 
England, and violent and long-continued contests 
arose between the two parties. The Romish in- 
terests were generally sustained by the English 
and Scottish princes ; and finally, by their poAve^, 
the Bible was driven from lona, and Romish 
superstitions enthroned in its stead. 

But, like the schools at Alexandria and Cassa- 
rea, it became a model of many others, especially 
in Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. One was found- 
ed by Serf, or Servanus, a disciple of Columba, on 
a little island of Loch Levin, after whom it is still 
called Serfs Island. Another was founded at 
Abernethy ; another at Dunkeld ; another at St. 
Andrew's ; and others at Dunblane, Dumfermline, 
Monimusk,, and Scone. There was, also, one at 
Bangor, in Wales, containing two thousand in- 
mates ; one in Clogher, and another at Armagh, in 
Ireland, which was said to have been founded by 
St. Patrick. This institution, as well as the one 
before mentioned, at Bangor, was very extensive. 
At one time it had seven thousand students. 
Foreign students were gratuitously furnished with 
lodging, diet, clothes, and books. The institution 


was possessed of a valuable library, and furnished 
with all the means necessary for a thorough 
course of study. These, and many other similar 
establishments, grew up under the influence of 
that at lona, and continued to be sources of light 
and power down to the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries. And their influence is, doubtless, felt 
at the present day, and continues to make Scot- 
land and the north of Ireland among the most 
thoroughly anti-Popish countries in the world. 

It should be remarked that this institution is 
usually called a convent, though it was, as we 
have seen above, more properly a school. And 
the members of these schools, and the missionaries 
from them, were called Culdees. And it is said, 
" that the very year in which we have the last 
mention of them in Scotland was the very same 
in which the Lollards made their appearance in 
Germany. Shortly after this, Wickliffe began to 
hold up a light in England which was not extin- 
guished till the dawn of the reformation. It would 
seem, from this view, that God had witnesses to 
the reality and power of spiritual religion through 
all the dark ages, not only in the south of Europe, 
among the fastnesses of the Alps, but also in the 
north, among the rugged cliffs of Scotland and 
Wales." ^ 

• Dr. Pond, on the Convent at lona. 


Y4 Biblical school at iona. 


Iona was twice plundered and devastated, first 
by Danish, and second by Norwegian pirates ; and 
finally it was subjected to the authority of Romish 
bishops, by the authority of the kings of Scotland. 
Thus perished one of the most useful and ancient 
of biblical schools for ministerial education, be- 
fore the rising power of the man of sin. Nothing 
now remains of its former outward glory but the 
ruins of its buildings and the tombs of the great 
men buried there, forty-eight of whom were kings 
of Scotland, four of Ireland, eight of Norway, and 
one of France — "a fact which shows how much 
the Culdees were revered, and how far their influ- 
ence had extended." Dr. Johnson visited the 
island in 1773, and gave an interesting account 
of its ruins.^ 

> For the facts in this chapter vre are especially indebted to Dr. 
Howe's discoxirse on Theological Education, and Dr. Pond's Essay on 
the Convent of Iona. — Am. Quarterly Register, vol. xii. p. 153, and 



Ignorance of the Clergy in the Middle Ages. — The 
PaiUicians and Waldenses Lovers of t/ie Bible. — 
Ministerial Education in the Times of the Reform- 
ers. — Their Influence in establishing and carrying 
on the Work of Reform. — James Arminius and 
his Influence on Ministerial Education. 

We have already announced and illustrated the 
fact that the purest ages of the church have always 
produced biblical schools, while the ages of superstition, 
corruption, and ignorance have destroyed them. We 
are now prepared to go further, and to say that 
there is a reflex influence between biblical schools 
and the gospel work ; that is to say, the gospel pro- 
duces and prospers them, and they promote and cause 
the work of the gospel to prosper. 

During the thousand years previous to the 
reformation, the spirituality of the gospel was lost 
sight of. The religion of nominally Christian 
nations generally relapsed into formalism and 
superstition. The gospel was buried under a 
great mass of observances. Image and saint wor- 
ship, penance and purgatory, destroyed the living 
piety of the times. Deplorable ignorance resulted 
through all ranks, both of the clergy and laity. 
It was the interest of the clergy to keep the laity 
in ignorance, the better to secure their exactions ; 


and many of them sincerely thouglit that the 
greater the ignorance, the greater would be the 
piety and devotion of the people. It is true, the 
cathedral schools and monastic institutions did 
something towards preserving the light of knowl- 
edge in the earth. But their grand object was 
rather to uphold the clerical follies and wicked- 
ness of the times than to promote genuine learn- 
ing, or an earnest love thereof. This state of 
things commenced at an early period, both in the 
Latin and Greek churches. A council held at 
Rome, A. D. 467, solemnly decreed that no one 
should be ordained a bishop who " could not 
read ! " Further, it appears from the records of 
the councils, both of Epkesus and Ckalcedon, in the 
same century, that of the bishops present, there 
were a number who were not able to write their 
own names, but were glad to get others to sub- 
scribe for them. The subscriptions of two bishops 
in one of these councils is in the following style : 
" / Helius, Bishop of Hadrianople, have subscribed 
by Myro, Bishop of Rome, being myself ignorant of 
letters J' And again : " I Caiumus, Bishop of Phoe- 
nicia, have subscribed by my colleague, Bishop 
Dionysius, because I am unacquainted with letters.^' 

Facts might be adduced, abundantly proving 
that the ignorance of the clergy was one principal 
cause of the long night of ages which followed. 
Preaching was in a great measure discontinued, 
partly because the clergy were too ignorant to 


instruct the people, and partly because of their 
profligacy and crimes. Long and gloomy was this 
night. Only a few " lights " — " witnesses who 
prophesied in sackcloth" — appeared in the course 
of these ages. But, few and feeble as they were, 
they clearly show the importance of sacred knowl- 
edge among the leaders and guides of the church. 
Those lights of the seventh and eight centuries, 
the Paidicians, were especially remarkable for their 
diligent study of the Scriptures. It is highly prob- 
able that their devoted attachment to the study 
of the Bible, and especially of the Epistles of the 
apostle Paul, gave rise to the title by which they 
are known. The same was true, as far as circum- 
stances permitted, of the pious and faithful Wal- 
denses. Says the Rev. Dr. Miller,^ " They were 
always poor, and always severely persecuted ; and 
yet they required all their candidates for the holy 
ministry, as far as possible, to be diligent students. 
They prescribed a certain course of study ; made all 
candidates for the sacred office pass through a specific 
examination ; and when, after all their care on this 
subject, they had been misrepresented by the sur- 
rounding devotees of the church of Rome, when 
it was calumniously alleged that they preferred 
ignorance to learning in their pastors, they re- 
plied, — as their authentic records, preserved by 
John Paul Perrin and Sir Samuel Morland, attest, 

' Quarterly Register, vol. iii. p. 89. 



— they replied, with a pathetic solemnity of ap- 
peal, truly characteristic, — that the most of their 
pastors were not, indeed, so deeply learned in 
biblical and theological knowledge as they wished 
them to be ; that this, however, was the result, not 
of choice, on their part, but of painful necessity ; 
that they were perfectly sensible that their pastors 
would be far more capable and more useful, as 
spiritual instructors and guides, if they were more 
richly furnished with knowledge ; but that their 
situation, as an impoverished and persecuted peo- 
ple, rendered it impossible for them to attain, in 
this respect, what they considered as highly de- 
sirable. If ever an historical fact bore a powerful 
testimony in favor of a well-furnished ministry, 
this of the Waldenses deserves to be so con- 

In the providence of God, in the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries, certain causes began to oper- 
ate to awaken the European mind, and extend the 
cause of learning. The crusaders had returned 
from the East, freighted with a stock of new ideas. 
The Turks had driven the Greeks from their 
ancient homes, and these exiles fled to their 
Christian brethren of the West, bearing with 
them their treasures, their books and learning, 
and their love of the arts. Schools arose for 
laymen as well as for priests, and the foundations 
of the Universities of Oxford, of Paris, of Prague, 
and Bologna were laid. These schools awakened 


a new spirit of inquiry into all branches of learn- 
ing. Among the ancient books exhumed from 
the rubbish of ages was the word of God. "Wick- 
liflfe, " the morning star of the reformation," born 
1324, while a commoner at Queen's College at 
Oxford, began to read and study the Scriptures. 
They were sweeter to his taste than " honey, 
and the honeycomb." He clearly saw, and at 
once renounced, the errors of Rome. Such was 
his commanding genius and learning, that he 
was made biblical professor at Oxford. From 
this position, this great man denounced the pope, 
the priests, and the friars as servants of the devil. 
With the smooth stones from the crystal stream 
of the. word, he slew many a champion among 
them. He translated and published the whole 
Bible in English, A. D. 1380, in the face of the 
fiercest opposition from the power of Rome. In 
his version of the Scriptures, Wickliffe left a 
legacy to England, which became, in after ages, 
the foundation of English freedom, of English in- 
telligence, and of English glory. 

Soon after the times of Wickliffe, those noble 
men of God and his church, John Huss, the bib- 
lical teacher, and Jerome, the biblical scholar, of 
Prague, having received light from God by means 
of Wickliffe, openly and fearlessly commenced 
biblical instruction to candidates for the ministry 
in the University of Prague, translated parts of 
the Scriptures, and gave them to the people. For 


this "work of mercy and labor of love," John 
Huss, and his disciple, Jerome, were both con- 
demned, by the infamous council of Constance, 
and burned at the stake. 

After Huss and Jerome, the Bible and en- 
lightened biblical instruction perished before the 
face of intolerant, bloody Rome, for nearly a whole 
century. Then Luther and Melancthon, who had 
found the same precious book that had enlightened 
Wickliffe, lifted up their voices from the cloisters 
of the University of Wittemburg, and denounced 
the wickedness of Rome. Luther was professor 
of divinity, and Melancthon of Greek. " Every 
day, at one o'clock in the afternoon," says D'Au- 
bigne,^ " Luther was called to lecture on the 
Bible — a precious hour, both for the professor 
and his pupils, and which led them deeper and 
deeper into the divine meaning of those revela- 
tions so long lost to the people and to the schools ! 
He began his course by explaining the Psalms, 
and thence passed to the Epistle of the Romans." 
While meditating on this Epistle, the light from 
heaven broke into his soul, and the reformation 
was begun." God forbid that it shall ever end till 
" the kingdoms of this world shall become the 
kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ ! " 

Here, then, was the first hiblical school of the 
reformation, with the two great leaders of it for 

» Vol. i. p. 186. 


professors. Luther and Melanctlion both lectured 
on the Holy Scriptures. No wonder, with pro- 
fessors like these, that thousands of young men, 
from various parts of Europe, resorted to Wittem- 
burg, and that the doctrines of the reformation, 
in a few years, were scattered from one end of the 
continent to the other. 

The next great reformers, in the order of history, 
were Calvin and Beza, Calvin, notwithstanding 
his " hori-ibik decretum" was one of the most power- 
ful and learned men of his time, and did noble 
service in the war of reform. He early became 
professor of divinity at Strasburg, afterwards at 
Geneva. Here he labored thirteen years, when 
Beza became his colleague. It is said that Calvin 
lectured to a thousand students daily.^ Such was 
the fame of his learning, and that of his colleague, 
Beza, that students flocked to Geneva in great 
numbers, especially from France, the Low Coun- 
tries, and the British Islands. 

These great men were strictly biblical teachers. 
Calvin's Commentaries on the Old Testament are 
highly esteemed at the present day. Beza's labors 
on the Greek Testament did much towards settling 
the text, and in exalting Beza as a man of learn- 
ing. For more than forty years he continued the 
able teacher and powerful defender of the word 
of God. Our space will not permit us to speak of 

• See Dyer's Life of Calvin. 


(Ecolampadius, the professor at Strasburg, Peter 
Martyr, and Martin Bucer, the faithful Bible 
teachers at Oxford and Cambridge, ■who ought 
always to be considered among the champions of 
the reformation. 

In this connection we cannot forbear to speak a 
little more at large of that great and good man, 
Dr. James Arminius, of Leyden. On the same 
year that Mclauethon died Arminius was born, 
viz., 1560. He pursued Jbis biblical studies mostly 
under Beza, at Geneva. Here he received that 
thorough training which was the foundation of 
his future eminence. 

The violence of Rome against the reformers 
had now much subsided ; and Arminius seems to 
have been raised up by Providence at a time when 
he was specially needed to reform the prevailing 
Calvinistic theology of his time. Such was his 
learning and eloquence that he was made pastor 
of the metropolitan church at Amsterdam, at the 
early age of twenty-eight. In 1603, he was made 
professor of theology in the university at Leyden. 
He was profoundly learned, a most gentle and 
meek spirit, a most judicious and able theologian, 
and " valiant for the truth."' Like Athanasius, he 
would not in the least give up the truth, though 
all the world might turn against him. For fifteen 
years he sustained the office of divinity professor, 
and died in the triumphs of the faith he had 
prQ^ched. He was an ornament to the university, 


but secretly hated and persecuted by his Calvhi- 
istic opponents. I say secretly, for none dared, 
during all his career at the university, to meet 
him in the open field of controversy. Notwith- 
standing the fierce opposition of the Calvinists, 
his doctrines were adopted and defended by many 
of the greatest men of that age. Among them 
we may mention the names of Grotius, Episcopius, 
Courcelle and Le Clerc. Besides these, a large 
company of Bible scholars came forth from the tui- 
tion of Arminius, and raised up powerful churches 
in the Low Countries, some of which are said to 
continue to the present times. This is a most 
remarkable fact, since the government of Holland 
was cruelly severe in persecuting the followers of 
Arminius. They were hunted like wild beasts, 
loaded with contumely and reproach, and some 
of them were driven with relentless fury from their 
homes and kindred. Nevertheless, their doctrines 
grew and prevailed, both at home and abroad. 
The doctrine of " free grace and free will, equally 
removed," as Fletcher says, "from the Pelagian 
shelves and Augustinian rocks," presented a bar- 
rier to the doctrines of Calvin, and laid a lasting 
foundation of a more scriptural and liberal the- 
ology in the churches of the reformation. 

The great John Wesley, under God the father 
of Methodism, adopted his opinions, and declared 
that he "proclaimed to the world as manly and 
rational a system of divinity as any age or nation 


has produced." Behold, then, how God made use 
of this great man, and made the university in 
which he Avas a teacher of candidates for the 
ministry the means of disseminating and estab- 
lishing that glorious system of theology preached 
by the founders of Methodism and their sons in 
the gospel, through which millions of people have 
been converted to God in Europe and America, 
and in the islands of the sea, God grant that this 
doctrine of ^frce salvation may continue to go forth 
till every kindred, and people, and nation, and 
tongue, under the whole heaven, shall hear its 
voice ! 

Let us now pause for a moment, and briefly 
review the ground we have traversed in this 

1. We have found a great ignorance of the 
Bible, both in the Romish and Greek churches, 
during the middle ages. 

2. We have found those famous witnesses for 
the truth, the Paulicians in the seventh and eighth, 
and the Waldenses in the ninth and tenth centu- 
ries, to have been distinguished above all other 
Christians of their time for their studies in, and 
their attachment to, the divine word. 

3. We have found the first biblical schools, and 
the first biblical professors at Oxford, Prague, 
Wittemberg, and Geneva, to have been the origi- 
nal founders and fosterers, under God, of the 
great doctrines of the reformation. 


4. "VVe have found that the theological teaching 
of James Arminius, as professor in the university 
at Leyden, modified the objectionable points in 
the theology of Calvin, and, through the founders 
of Methodism especially, has sent forth the knowl- 
edge of a free salvation throughout the earth. 



Ministerial Education among the Wesleyan Method- 
ists. — Preliminary Measures to the Formation of 
the Wesleyan Theological Institution. 

It is a most interesting fact, that Methodism, 
like the reformation, was born in a university. 
Here is an account of the commencement of Meth- 
odism in the words of John Wesley himself : — 

" In November, 1729, four young gentlemen of 
Oxford, Mr. John "Wesley, fellow of Lincoln Col- 
lege ; Mr. Charles Wesley, student of Christ's 
Church ; Mr. Morgan, commoner of Christ's 
Church ; and Mr. Kirkman, of Merton College, 
began to spend some evenings in a week together, 
in reading, chiefly, the Greek Testament. The 
next year, two or three of Mr. John Wesley's 
pupils desired the liberty of meeting with them, 
and afterward one of Mr. Charles Wesley's pu- 
pils. It was in 1732 that Mr. Ingham, of Queen's 
College, and Mr. Broughton, of Exeter, were 
added to their number. To these, in April, was 
joined Mr. Clayton, of Brazen-Nose, with two or 
three of his pupils. About the same time, Mr. 
James Hervey was permitted to meet with them, 
and afterwards Mr. Whitefield." ^ 

' Watson's Life of tVeelcy. p. 19. 


Here, then, Methodism began, in the study of 
the Greek Testament by John and Charles Wes- 
ley and a few others in the University of Oxford. 
John Wesley says of himself, "In the year 1729, 1 
began, not only to read, but to study the Bible, as 
the one, the only standard of truth, and the only 
model of pure religion." ^ Again, says Mr. Moore, 
"The Greek Testament was as familiar to him as 
the English." 

These men studied the Bible, and imbibed its 
spirit. They reformed their lives. They engaged 
in works of mercy, visiting the prisoners, and in- 
structing them, the sick and poor, and comforting 
them. Thus they continued for at least five years, 
until the Wesleys gave themselves to the missionary 
work, and embarked for Georgia, in 1735. This 
society of young men became commonly known by 
the name of Methodists, which means, as John Wes- 
ley aptly interpreted it, "a society which lives ac- 
cording to the method laid down in the Bible." 

We may not wonder, then, that Mr. Wesley, 
when, under God, he had become the head of a 
large religious community, should be anxious to 
induct the teachers of that community into the 
knowledge of the divine word, by means similar 
to those used by himself. This he desired and 
proposed to do, as we shall presently see. 

In our account of preliminary measures to the 

1 Moore's Life of Wesley. 


formation of the Wesleyan Theological Institu- 
tion, we shall adopt the statements of the Rev. 
Mr. Grindrod as worthy of the fullest credit, him- 
self having been secretary of the British con- 
ference, and a member of the committee having 
charge of the subject of a Theological Institution. 
He says, " Upon the preachers of his connection 
lie [John Wesley] laid the strongest injunctions 
to devote themselves, with all possible diligence, 
to the pursuit of useful learning and general 
knowledge. In the earlier minutes of the confer- 
ence, he often urges this upon them with his char- 
acteristic point and energy. He was zealously 
alive to the proficiency of his younger preachers, 
with whom Jie seized opportunities of reading 
the most valuable works in theology and other 
branches of profitable instruction, according to the 
method which he had once pursued with his pupils 
in college ; and when he compiled and published 
that inestimable selection of English divinity, 
The Christian Library, as is evident from his own 
remarks, and his correspondence with Dr. Dod- 
dridge and others, he specially intended to furnish 
the preachers in his connection with rich and 
copious materials for improvement in spiritual 
wisdom.^ At the first ' conference of the people 
called Methodists,' held in London in 1744, the 

■ "»~See prdpSsats fbT the fonnation of a Literary and Theological 
Institution, &c., p. 10. - 


establishment of an institution similar to that 
which now exists was a subject of conversation. 
The question was then asked, * Can we have a 
seminary for laborers ? ' And the answer is, ' If 
God spare us till another conference.' The next 
3'ear, the subject was resumed. ' Can we have a 
seminary for laborers yet ? ' Answer : ' Not till 
God gives us a proper tutor.' So that the institu- 
tion was actually resolved upon, and delayed only 
by circumstances.^ Nor does it appear that Mr. 
Wesley ever abandoned his design. It is certain, 
on the contrary, that, not being able to accom- 
plish it according to his first intentions, he en- 
deavored to approach as nearly to it as possible. 
He regarded Kingswood school, after he had 
founded it, as subsidiary to this object, and, for a 
season, sent several of his most promising preach- 
ers to study in that academy .^ He supplied all 
of them with valuable publications in almost every 
department of theology and science, composed, 
abridged, or extracted by himself ; and by his 

* See Watson's Life of Wesley. AVorks, vol. v. p. 186. 

'•^ Larger Minutes. Question 9. Ought we not diligently to observe 
in what places God is pleased at any time to pour out his Spirit more 
abundantly ? 

Ansiccr. Wc ought ; and at that time to send more laborers into 
that part of the harvest. But whence shall we have them ? 


(2.) Let an exact list be kept of tJwse who are 2>^'oposed for trial, 
but twt accepted. — Wesley's Works, vol. v. p. 212. 



own incessant efforts, he exercised over them a 
constant personal and vigilant inspection. Since 
his days, the want of an efficient method of train- 
ing has been always felt, and often acknowledged. 
Thirty-five (now forty-six) years ago, a spirited 
pamphlet was published on this subject, by order 
of the conference ; its title is, Observations on the 
Importance of adopting a Plan of Instruction for 
those Preachers who are admitted upon Trial in 
the Methodist Connection. Submitted to the Con- 
sideration of the Preachers at their ensuing Dis- 
trict Meetings. 

" By appointment of the conference, the Rev.- 
Messrs. John Gaulter, Jabez Bunting, Thomas 
Jackson, and Richard Watson met together in 
the month of July, 1823, and prepared a report on 
the same topic ; which report was presented at the 
sittings of the following conference, and greatly 
approved, though it seems that the necessity of 
circumstances prevented its suggestions from being 
practically adopted. From that time, however, 
for several successive years, the conference regu- 
larly appointed a committee of education, to bring 
the subject, if possible, to a successful termination. 
At the conference in 1833, a committee of twenty 
preachers was directed to meet in London, on 
Wednesday, October 23, to arrange a plan for 
the better education of our junior preachers.^ 

' Minutes, 1833. This committee consisted of the foUomng 


Pursuant to this appointment, the committee as- 
sembled, on the day above mentioned, at the 
Wesleyan Mission House, Hatton Garden, and 
proceeded to a diligent examination of the subject 
which had been confided to their attention. They 
conferred freely with each other ; weighed every 
question as it arose, with all the impartiality in 
their power ; continued their sittings, by various 
adjournments, until Wednesday, October 30, when 
they unanimously and cordially adopted the res- 
olutions, which, with some revision, received the 
approbation of the ensuing conference." 

As the subject is one of great interest this side 
of the Atlantic, we will give the whole of Mr. 
Grindrod's account of the institution, and then 
subjoin some remarks of our own. 


The following are the decisions of the confer- 
ence, on the report of the committee appointed to 
arrange a plan for the improvement of the junior 
preachers ; namely : — 

The conference approves of the principles and 
general outline of the plan which that committee 

persons : The Rev. Richard TrefFry, president of the conference ; 
the Rev. Edmund Grindrod, secretary of the conference ; the Rev. 
Messrs. R. Newton, J. Bunting, Gaulter, Entwisle, Reece, Taylor, 
Warren, Naylor, J. Stanley, Lessey, T. Jackson, Beecham, Hannah, 
GaUaud, Alder, T. Waugh, V. Ward, and Walton. 


has recommended to its adoption : and which, as 
revised and altered by the committee at sittings 
subsequent to its meeting in October last, embodies 
the following resolutions : — 

1. That it is expedient that an institution should 
be speedily formed for promoting the more ef- 
fectual improvement of the junior preachers in the 
Methodist connection. 

2. That this institution shall be denominated 
" The Wesleyan Theological Institution for the 
Improvement of the Junior Preachers." 

3. That all preachers who shall have passed 
through the various examinations required by our 
existing rules, and obtained the consent of their 
respective quarterly meetings, and the recom- 
mendation of the superintendents and district 
meetings, and shall have been placed by the con- 
ference on the president's list of reserve, and none 
else, shall be eligible for admission into this insti- 
tution as resident students, and shall be allowed 
to remain in it for two or three years, as may be 
found most consistent with the claims of the con- 
nection for the immediate supply of the circuits 
and missions, and with the capacity and attain- 
ments of the students themselves. 

J N. B. (1.) In those cases in which a third year's 
residence is allowed, that third year shall be 
reckoned to the student as the first of the four 
I2^JLo 3 ysars of probation now required by our rule.^ 

(2.) As it has been intimated to the committee 
1^"^^ 2- *^^^ ^^® trustees of an Irish gentleman who lately 
bequeathed a^ legacy of one thousand pounds, to 

lUZ' 3 

' At the following conference, it was altered to the second instead 
of the third year. [At the conference of 1842, the original regula- 
tion was restored.] . 



promote the improvement of our junior preachers 

hi Ireland, are willing to pay over that legacy in 

aid of this institution, it is recommended that, in A [^ t 

consideration of this payment, of other contribu- ^^ 

tions expected from Ireland, and of the special Y\jl*^U^^. 

claims of that country, the Irish connection shall 

always be allowed to have four resident students 

in the institution, and an additional number, if 

deemed expedient, on the payment of a reasonable 


4. That, as soon as practicable, after the con- 
ference of each year, all the young preachers 
placed on the president's list of reserve shall be 
subjected to an additional examination by a com- 
mittee consisting of the preachers of the London 
district, or as many of them as can conveniently 
assemble ; that this committee shall decide which 
of the candidates it may be proper to admit into ' 
the institution house, and which of them shall still 
be kept on the list of reserve for the immediate 
service of the home and foreign work ; and that, 
should the committee, in their examination, judge 
any of these candidates to be deficient in the 
requisite qualifications for the Christian ministry 
to such a degree as to excite a doubt whether they 
will ever become acceptable ministers of the gos- 
pel among us, they shall have power to pronounce 
them ineligible to be called out into the work 
for that year, and shall refer their cases for re- 
consideration to the ensuing conference. 

5. That the plan of tuition for resident students 
shall comprehend as many of the following sub- 
jects as, on a careful consideration of the previous 
attainments and probable opportunities of the 
several students, may be deemed suitable and 
practicable; namely, — 


(1.) English grammar, composition, and elocu- 
tion ; geography and history ; and elementary in- 
struction in the mathematics, natural philosophy, 
and chemistry, and in logic, and the philosophy 
of the mind. 

(2.) Theology ; including the evidences, doc- 
trines, duties, and institutions of Christianity, and 
having particular reference to those views of the 
Christian system, in its application to experimental 
and practical religion, which are held by our 
body to be conformable to the Holy Scriptures. 
This w^ill also include the general principles of 
church order and government, connected with a 
distinct exposition of our own established disci- 
pline, and of the proper methods of administering 
it for the purity, edification, and preservation of 
our societies ; and a view of the nature and im- 
portance of the pastoral office and care, with 
special reference to the duties and engagements of 
a Methodist preacher. 

(3.) The elements of biblical criticism ; the best 
methods of critically studying the Scriptures ; the 
rules and principles to be observed in their inter- 
pretation ; Hebrew, Greek, and Roman antiqui- 
ties ; and the outlines of ecclesiastical history. 

(4.) The most useful methods of direct prepara- 
tion for the pulpit ; and general instructions for 
the composition and acceptable delivery of ser- 

(5.) Such instruction in the Latin, Greek, and 
Hebrew languages as may enable the students to 
read and study the sacred Scriptures in their 
original tongues, and prepare them for the success- 
ful pursuit of further classical and biblical knowl- 
edge, when they shall be called into circuits or 
missions. This branch of instruction mav. how- 


ever, be wholly omitted, at the discretion of the 
officers of the institution, if, on examining the 
student, at his iirst admission, or subsequently, 
they shall deem it most expedient to confine his 
attention to the English and theological classes. 

6. That the care and assistance of this institu- 
tion shall be extended also to those candidates for 
the Christian ministry who cannot be received 
into the institution house ; for which purpose they 
shall be regarded as non-resident students. The 
object of this care and assistance shall be to direct 
thera in the prosecution of their literary and theo- 
logical studies ; to aid them in the purchase of 
suitable books, according to a list to be prepared 
for that purpose ; and to make provision for their 
regular annual examination by one of the officers 
of the institution, assisted by such person or per- 
sons as the conference may appoint, in reference 
to the studies which shall have been enjoined. 
These examinations of non-resident students shall 
take place either at the house of tlie institution 
or elsewhere, as may be most convenient ; and an 
exact and faithful report of them shall be presented 
every year to the conference. 

7. That suitable premises for the tutors and 
resident students of the institution shall, in the 
first instance, be rented, rather than bought or 
erected, in, order that due time maybe afforded 
for the trial of the proposed plans, and for ascer- 
taining by experience what accommodations will 
be ultimately needed. 

8. That, after much and careful deliberation, it 
is the unanimous judgment of the committee that 
such premises should, for the present, be situated 
in or near London, for the following among other 
reasons : Because, first, the neighborhood of the 


metropolis aflFords the means of obtaining for the 
students, at a small expense and with little trouble, 
those helps to improvement which may be derived 
from lectures by eminent professors in several 
important branches of nseful knowledge — helps 
which, under the direction of a vigilant tutor, and 
with a proper degree of previous preparation, 
will be found of incalculable advantage : because, 
secondly, among the students there will always 
be a considerable number of such as are intended 
for the foreign service ; and it is especially desi- 
rable that these should be within the reach of 
those instructions which are adapted to their 
peculiar work and prospects, and which they can 
receive only from the missionary secretaries : and, 
because, thirdly, it is eminently desirable that the 
students, while in a course of preparation for cir- 
cuits or missions, should be employed, every Sab- 
bath day, in preaching the gospel, and in other 
auxiliary departments of usefulness ; and it is ob- 
vious that there are large and long-neglected 
districts, in the metropolis itself, and in several 
adjoining counties, which appear to present the 
best and widest field for such labors — a field, 
too, which, beyond all others in this country, is 
least supplied, in the ordinary mode, with the 
services of our preachers, whether itinerant or 

9. That while the committee continue to be of 
opinion, after the most careful and mature con- 
sideration of every other plan which has been at 
various times proposed, that the best, if not the 
only, method of fully securing the objects contem- 
plated, will be to provide a suitable house for the 
common residence of the preachers on the list of 
reserve, they are also of opinion that this plan 


should be tried at first on a smaller scale than was 
originally suggested in the printed report of their 
meetings in October last ; and they now recommend 
that provision should not at present be made in 
the institution house for more than about thirty 
students ; and that it should embrace, as nearly 
as may be found convenient, sixteen of the preach- 
ers intended for our work in Great Britain, fcmr 
of those intended for the service of Ireland, and 
ten of those who are entered on the missionary list, 
as having already devoted themselves, specifically, 
to the service of Christ in foreign lands. But the 
number of each class may at any time be extended, 
if it be deemed expedient, when adequate means 
of support shall be furnished.^ 

The following regulations were added at suc- 
ceeding conferences : — 

1. The second^ year which each student may 
spend at the institution shall be reckoned to him, 
when he is received on trial as a preacher, as the 
first of the four years of probation now required 
by our rule ; provided that the officers and the 
committee of the institution recommend such 
student as having conducted himself with Chris- 
tian propriety and diligence.^ 

2. The object of the preparatory examination of 
preachers on the list of reserve by the London 
district meeting, as appointed in the minutes of 
1834, being, in the strictest sense, a connectional 
one, the expense which may be incurred by attend- 
ing that examination shall be provided for by a 
connectional fund, at least in all those cases in 

' Minutes, 1834. « [Now the third. See p. 94.] 

Minutes, 1835. 

9 G 


which it cannot "be defrayed by the candidates 
themselves ; the conference regarding it as an 
equitable principle, that the funds of the institu- 
tion should not be chargeable with any expense, 
excepting for that select class of candidates for our 
ministry who are, after the examination, finally 
taken under its care, nor even for tliem, until they 
become actually resident, as students, in the insti- 
tution house. ^ 

3. The preachers are directed to collect the 
donations and subscriptions which have beea 
promised in their respective circuits, and any 
others which they may be able to procure, in aid 
of the funds of the institution, during the first and 
second weeks of the month of January in each 
year ; and to remit them to the treasurer, ad- 
/dressed Weskya7i Theological Institution, Hoxton, 
y London,^ not later than the end of January .^ 


During the year 1838, a considerable number of 
out-door students were admitted to the benefits of 
the institution. The plan answered well, on the 
whole ; but it was attended with some inconven- 
ience, and, at the ensuing conference, the follow- 
ing minute was passed : — 

The experiment of receiving, as out-door stu- 
dents, those candidates for our ministry who could 
not be accommodated in the institution house, while 

> Minutes, 1836. y « [Now Riehmond, Surrey.] ^ 

3 Minutes, 1835. V 


it has most beneficially extended the advantages 
of the institution, has also plainly shown the great 
desirableness of placing all the students underreg- 
ular and official superintendence, and of providing 
more fully and directly for the elementary instruc- 
tion of those whose education has been defective. 
The conference therefore resolves, on the unani- 
mous recommendation of the committee, that, at 
least until a larger institution house can be 
erected, an additional house shall be rented, in 
the neighborhood of London, to afford suitable 
accommodation for a preparatory branch of the 

Shortly after the conference, " Abney House," 
situated in Stoke Newington, was obtained for the 
above purpose. It was originally the residence 
of the late Sir Thomas Abney, knight, and alder- 
man of the city of London ; in which that eminent 
divine and Christian poet, Dr. Isaac "Watts, 
found the comforts of a friendly and generous 
home for a period of thirty-six years, and where 
he composed many of his excellent sermons and 
other works, which will carry down his honored 
name to the latest posterity.^ 

Amongst the resolutions on the " Centenary of 
Methodism," passed in 1838, we find the following ; 
namely : — 

That, after full consideration, it is the decided 
opinion of the committee, that the connectional 

> Minutes, 1839. 

2 Sec report of the Theological Institution for 1839. 


fund, to be raised on the occasion of the centenary, 
should be applied, iii the first place, in the erection 
of Suitable premises for the accommodation of 
students to be hereafter received into the Wesleyan 
Theological Institution, (whether such students be 
designed for home or for missionary service.) on an 
enlarged scale, adapted to the increasing demands 
of the connection for the benefit of its rising min- 
istry ; and, in the second place, in assisting to pro- 
vide commodious premises in London for the use 
of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, adequate to the 
greatly augmented and augmenting extent of its 
multifarious and important business. 

In accordance with this decision, at the ensuing 
conference, the centenary committee agreed to 
divide the amount then paid into their fund, 
among its various objects, to the extent of one half 
of the sums originally appropriated ; according to 
which scale, twenty-seven thousand five hundred 
pounds were reserved for tlie purposes of the 
Theological Institution. From the commencement 
of the centenary movement, it was generally under- 
stood that there should be two branches of the 
institution, one for the north and the other for the 
south : at the conference of 1839, therefore, a sub- 
committee, of persons resident in the north, was 
appointed to look out for a situation suitable for 
the purposes of an institution house in the neigh- 
borhood of Manchester : at the following confer- 
ence, this sub-committee reported that they had ob- 
tained very convenient and advantageous premises 
at Didsbury, near Manchester ; and at the confer- 


ence of 1841, the general Theological Institution 
committee reported that they had obtained commo- 
dious premises at Richmond, near London, for the 
southern branch of the institution. In the two 
houses which are now preparing, accommodation 
will be provided for one hundred students ; but it 
is not expected that so large a number will be im- 
mediately admitted. 


The experiment of a "Wesleyan Theological In- 
stitution has now undergone a trial of seven years ; ^ 
and although it has had to struggle with some 
unforeseen and formidable difficulties, it has been 
triumphantly successful. The apprehensions which 
■were entertained from the possible dangers of the 
scheme have proved groundless ; and the hope? 
of its friends have been fully realized. The young 
preachers who have successively become its in- 
mates have derived, from the course of tuition 
pursued, incalculable advantages : at the same 
time, their personal piety has been guarded and 
confirmed ; their Christian humility has been pro- 
moted, and their zeal for the salvation of the souls 
of men has been encouraged ; habits of study, 
of regularity, of order, and diligence, have been 
formed ; and such facilities for future improve- 

• Mr. Grindrod's account was ^mtten about twelve years ago. 



merit have been furnished to them as, if followed 
out with assiduity and perseverance, will make 
them, by the blessing of God, " good ministers of 
Jesus Christ," and instruments of extensive useful- 
ness to our community, and the world at large.^ 

During the year, the theological tutor delivers 
lectures to the students, on the evidences, doc- 
trines, and duties of Christianity : on the proper 
use of the English Scriptures ; the general prin- 
ciples of biblical interpretation ; sacred antiqui- 
ties ; and ecclesiastical history. He also gives 
expository lectures on some of St. Paul's Epistles ; 
occasional lectures on Popery, and on various 
other subjects, particularly on the best methods 
of preparation for the pulpit. He reads the 
Greek Testament with one of his classes two or 
three times a week, during the whole term, with 
a design especially of rendering practical aid to 
the students in the exposition of the Scriptures. 
The classical and mathematical tutor has general- 
ly had one Hebrew class, and several Greek and 
Latin classes, one in mental philosophy, one in 
logic, and one in geometry and algebra, and 
once in the week has delivered a lecture on the 
physical sciences. An additional tutor has some- 
times been employed in the English and element- 
ary department of instruction.- 

The governor is specially charged with the 

» Report for 1839, p. v. 2 Report for 1839, pp. xii., xiij. 


oversight of the Christian character and conduct 
of the students. He meets them in class every 
week, inquires closely into their spiritual state 
and progress, and gives them advice and admoni- 
tion as need requires. He is also expected to in- 
struct them in the general economy and discipline 
of Wesleyan Methodism, and the nature and duties 
of the pastoral office. 

On the Sabbath the students are employed partly 
in supplying some of the smaller chapels of the 
metropolis ; but principally, in conformity with 
the design of one of the original regulations of the 
institution, in preaching the gospel in the large 
and long-neglected districts of the metropolis it- 
self, and in several adjoining counties. During 
the summer months an active and vigorous system 
of out-door preaching is maintained in the vicinity 
of places of public resort, or of great moral desti- 

The institution is placed under a president and 
a committee of management, who meet once a 
month ; there is also a "house" sub-committee, 
which meets monthly, whose duties relate chiefly 
to the finances of the establishment, and to whom, 
in particular, is confided the inspection of its ex- 
penditure. A " weekly board " meets at the in- 
stitution house on the Friday morning, to whom 
the governor submits his plan of the students' 

> Report for 1839, p. x'v-i. 


appointments for the ensuing Sabbath, and any 
other matter, for counsel or discipline, which he 
may find necessary. The president of the institu- 
tion exercises a watchful oversight of all its pro- 
ceedings, and an affectionate care for all its in- 

Premises were rented at Hoxton, near London, 
und the institution actually went into operation in 
1834. The first class numbered ten students, four 
of whom went on foreign missions. The second 
class, 1835, also numbered ten, five of whom went 
on foreign missions. The third class, 1836, num- 
bered fourteen, five of whom entered upon the 
foreign work. The fourth class numbered thirty- 
one, thirteen of whom were sent into the foreign 
work. These facts conclusively show that these 
young men did not seek to save themselves from 
the hardships and trials of the gospel work. 

The above sum of twenty-seven thousand five 
hundred pounds is probably only about half the 
sum which has been appropriated to buildings alone, 
for the accommodation of the students and officers 
of the schools. This princely munificence of two 
hundred and sixty-six thousand dollars may well 
surprise us, when we remember that the whole 
membership in Great Britain is only about three 
hundred thousand. But this is not all. They pay 
about thirty thousand dollars every year towards 
the current expenses of these schools. According 
to the account of the treasurer, now lying before 


me, for the year 1849, the expenses of the institu- 
tions for that year were thirty-two thousand eight 
hundred and fifty-three dollars and ninety-two 
cents. These annual expenses are met principally 
by the contributions of the circuits. For about 
eighteen years, the churches and the conference 
have joyfully borne this burden, believing that 
compensation is abundantly made them by the 
consequent increased character, usefulness, and 
power of the Wesleyan ministry. 

The institution has gone on in a course of use- 
fulness and success until the last voice of igno- 
rance and malice has sunk into silence. The 
Methodists of England may well exult in their 
Theological Institution. It is the final glorious 
realization of one of Mr. Wesley's first and most 
cherished conceptions in regard to the education 
of his preachers. It is now an essential and 
prominent feature of Wesleyan Methodism. The 
following is an extract from the minutes of the 
British conference for 1851: — 

Q. XXIX. What are the resolutions of the 
conference with regard to the Wesleyan Theological 
Listitution ? 

A. 1. The conference gratefully recognizes, in 
the reports which have been furnished, occasion 
for augmented satisfaction in the original object and 
practical results of the institution, as well as oc- 
casion of renewed thankfulness to God ; and trusts 
that these results will be regarded by its friend.«( 


and supporters, and by the connection at large, as 
presenting a strong claim for its more general and 
liberal support.^ 

At the session of the British conference in 
August, 1852, after the presentation of the usual 
resolutions in respect to the Theological Institu- 
tion, the venerable Dr. Bunting arose, and, among 
other things, declared " that he was more than ever 
convinced that the institution was of God — of God 
in its origin, and in its progress to that state 
of maturity and extensive usefulness which it had 
now reached."^ 

> See Minutes for 1851, p. 163. 

- We learn from the annual report for 1852, that notwithstanding 
the " wicked agitation " which has recently prevailed, and notwith- 
standing the fact that the agitators made this institution one of the 
prominent objects of their attacks, yet it has been nobly sustained, 
and returning peace will make it more than ever the object of af- 
fection to the Wesleyan churches. The annual grant from the 
Book Room is £500, and the interest on grants from the centenary 
fund £884^, which, together wth the annual collection from the 
circuits, and the appropriation from the missionary fund for the 
education of nineteen students for the foreign field, nearly met the 
expenditures, viz., £6401 8s. 5d. 

MB. Wesley's views. 107 


Mr. Wesley^s Views of Ministerial Qualifications and 

At this stage of our historical view of minis- 
terial education, we deem it important to present 
the opinions of that great and good man, who, 
under God, was the founder of the Methodist 
churches, both in this country and in Europe, on 
this important subject. They may be found very 
fully presented in his Address to the Clergy, in 
the sixth volume of his Works, pp. 217-231. 

The English church requires that its clergymen 
should be men of learning, and to this end have a 
university education. Mr. Wesley, so far as we 
can ascertain, never found fault with this practice 
of his church. Yet he was especially severe upon 
the bishops for ordaining men who, though they 
had been at the university, yet had no learning at 
all, or for refusing to ordain ministers of eminent 
learning, because they had not been at the university. 
This is just the position we should expect Mr. 
Wesley would have taken, and which every, saga- 
cious and discreet man would take at the present 
day. Let all our ordained ministers be men of 
learning — having such an amount of learning as 
will unquestionably render them competent for their 
work. Let us also never cease to take into our 

108 MR. Wesley's views. 

ranks, as local preachers and assistants, even unlearned 
men, who still may clearly be useful in proclaiming 
the gospel. But let us hear Mr. Wesley. 

" And, frst, if we are ' overseers of the church 
of God, which he hath bought with his own blood,' 
what manner of men ought we to be, in gifts as 
well as in grace ? 

" I. To begin with gifts ; and, (1,) with those 
that are from nature. Ought not a minister to 
have, First, a good understanding, a clear appre- 
hension, a sound judgment, and a capacity of 
reasoning with some closeness ? Is this not ne- 
cessary, in a high degree, for the work of the 
ministry ? Otherwise, how will he be able to 
understand the various states of those under his 
care, or to steer them through a thousand difficul- 
ties and dangers, to the haven where they would 
be ? Is it not necessary, in regard to the numer- 
ous enemies whom he has to encounter ? Can a 
fool cope with all the men that know not God, 
and with all the spirits of darkness ? 

" Secondly. Is it not highly expedient that a guide 
of souls should have, likewise, some liveliness and 
readiness of thought ? or how will he be able, 
when need requires, to * answer a fool according 
to his folly ' ? How frequent is this need ! seeing 
we almost every where meet with those empty, 
yet petulant creatures, who are far ' wiser, in 
their own eyes, than seven men that can render a 

MR. Wesley's views. 109 

" Thirdly. To a sound understanding, and a 
lively turn of thought, should be joined a good 
memory ; if it may be, ready that you may make 
whatever occurs in reading or conversation your 

" II. And as to acquired endowments, can he take 
one step aright, without, first, a competent share 
of knowledge ? a knowledge, First, of his own 
office, of the high trust in which he stands, the 
important work to which he is called ? Is there 
any hope that a man should discharge his office 
well, if he knows not what it is? Nay, if he 
knows not the work God has given him to do, he 
cannot finish it. 

" Secondly. No less necessary is a knowledge of 
the Scriptures, which teach us how to teach others ; 
yea, a knowledge of a// the Scriptures ; seeing Scrip- 
ture interprets Scripture ; one part fixing the sense 
of another. So that whether it be true or not, 
that every good textuary is a good divine, it is 
certain none can be a good divine who is not a 
good textuary. None else can be ' mighty in the 
Scriptures' — able both to instruct and to stop the 
mouths of gainsayers. 

" In order to do this accurately, ought he not 
to know the literal meaning of every word, verse, 
and chapter ? without which there can be no firm 
foundation on which the spiritual meaning can be 
built. Should he not, likewise, be able to deduce 
the proper corollaries, speculative and practical, 

110 MR. Wesley's views. 

from each text ; to solve the difficulties which 
arise, and answer the objections which are or may 
be raised against it ; and to make a suitable ap- 
plication of all to the consciences of his hearers ? 

" Thirdly. But can he do this, in the most ef- 
fectual manner, without a knowledge of the 
original tongues ? Without this, will he not fre- 
quently be at a stand, even as to texts which re- 
gard practice only ? But he will be under still 
greater difficulties with respect to controverted 
Scriptures ! He will be ill able to rescue these 
out of the hands of any man of learning that would 
pervert them, for whenever an appeal is made to 
the original, his mouth is stopped at once. 

" Fourthly. Is not a knowledge of profane his- 
tory, likewise, of ancient customs, of chronology 
and geography, though not absolutely necessary, 
yet highly expedient for him that would thoroughly 
understand the Scriptures, since the want even of 
this knowledge is but poorly supplied by reading 
the comments of other men ? 

" Fifthly. Some knowledge of the sciences, also, 
is, to say the least, equally expedient. Nay, may 
we not say that the knowledge of one, (whether 
art or science,) although now quite unfashionable, 
is even necessary next, and in order to, the knowl- 
edge of Scripture itself? I mean logic. For 
what is this, if rightly understood, but the art of 
good sense ? of apprehending things clearly, judg- 
ing truly, and reasoning conclusively ? What is 

MR. Wesley's views. Ill 

it, viewed in another light, but tlie art of learning 
and teaching, whether by convincing or persuad- 
ing ? What is there, then, in the whole compass 
of science, to be desired in comparison with it ? 

" Is not some acquaintance with what has been 
termed the second part of logic, (metaphysics,) if 
not so necessary as this, yet highly expedient, 1. 
In order to clear our apprehension, (without which 
it is impossible' either to judge correctly or to 
reason closely or conclusively,) by ranging our 
ideas under general heads ? and, 2. In order to 
understand many useful writers, who can very 
hardly be understood without it ? 

" Should not a minister be acquainted, too, with 
at least the general grounds of natural philosophy ? 
Is not this a great help to the accurate under- 
standing several passages of Scripture ? Assisted 
by this, he may himself comprehend how the in- 
visible things of God are seen from the creation 
of the world. 

" But how far can he go in this without some 
knowledge of geometry ? which is, likewise, useful, 
not barely on this account, but to give clearness 
of apprehension, and a habit of thinking closely 
and connectedly. 

" Sixthly. Can any who spend several years 
in those seats of learning (the universities) be ex- 
cused, if they do not add to that of the languages 
and sciences the knowledge of the Fathers ? — 
the most authentic commentators on the Scrip- 

112 MR. Wesley's views. 

tures, as being nearest the fountain, and eminently 
endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was 
given. It will be easily perceived I speak chiefly 
of those who wrote before the council of Nice. 
But who would not likewise desire to have some 
acquaintance with those that followed them ? with 
St. Chrysostom, Basil, Jerome, Austin ; and, above 
all, the man with a broken heart, Ephraim 
gyrus ? " 

In connection with these, Mr. W. proceeds to 
remark on the importance of a clergyman's hav- 
ing a " knowledge of the world," an eminent 
share of prudence, that most uncommon thing 
which is usually called common sense, and a de- 
gree of good breeding — i. e., address, easiness, 
and propriety of behavior wherever his lot is cast ; 
and finally he urges the surpassing importance of 
a good delivery, both with regard to pronunciation 
and action, and closes up this most admirable ad- 
>dress by a powerful and close application. We 
have room to quote only that part of it relating 
to acquired endowments : " I would desire," he 
remarks, "every person who reads this to apply 
it to himself. Certainly some one in the nation is 
defective — am not I the man ? Let us each seri- 
ously examine himself. 1. Have I such a knowl- 
edge of Scripture as becomes him who undertakes 
- so to explain it to others that it may be a light in 
all their paths ? Have I a. clear and full view of 
the analogy of faith, which is the clew to guide me 

MR. Wesley's views. 113 

through the whole ? Am I acquainted with the 
several parts of Scripture — with all parts of the 
Old Testament and the New ? Upon the mention 
of any text, do I know the context and the parallel 
places ? Have I that point at least of a good di- 
vine, the being a good textuary ? Do I know the 
grammatical construction of the four Gospels ; of 
the Acts ; of the Epistles ; and am I a master of 
the spiritual sense (as well as the literal) of what 
I read ? Do I understand the scope of each 
book, and how every part of it tends thereto ? 
Have I skill to draw the natural inferences de- 
ducible from each text ? Do I know the ob- 
jections raised to them or from them by Jews, 
Deists, Papists, Arians, Socinians, and all other 
sectaries, who more or less corrupt or cauponize 
the word of God ? Am I ready to give a satis- 
factory answer to each of these objections ? And 
have I learned to apply every part of the sacred 
writings, as the various states of my hearers re- 
quire ? 

" 2. Do I understand Greek and Hebrew ,? 
Otherwise, how can I undertake, (as every minister 
does,) not only to explain books which are written 
therein, but to defend them against all opponents ? 
Am I not at the mercy of every one who does un- 
derstand, or even pretends to understand, the 
original ? For which way can I confute his pre- 
tence ? Do I understand the language of the Old 
Testament critically, at all ? Can I read into 
10* H 


114 MR. Wesley's views. 

English one of David's Psalms ; or even the first 
chapter of Genesis? Do I understand the lan- 
guage of the New Testament ? Am I a critical 
master of it ? Have I enough of it even to read 
into English the first chapter of St. Luke? If 
not, how many years did I spend at school ? how 
many at the university ? and what was I doing 
all those years ? Ought not shame to cover my 

" 3. Do I understand my own office ? Have 
I deeply considered, before God, the character 
which I bear ? What is it to be an ambassador 
of Christ, an envoy from the King of heaven ? 
and do I know and feel what is implied in ' watch- 
ing over the souls ' of men ' as he that must give 
account ' ? 

" 4. Do I understand so much of profane his- 
tory as tends to confirm and illustrate the sacred ? 
Am I acquainted with the ancient customs of the 
Jews, and other nations mentioned in Scripture ? 
Have I a competent knowledge of chronology, 
that, at least, which refers to the sacred writings ? 
And am I so far (if no. further) skilled in geog- 
raphy, as to know the situation, and give some 
account of all the considerable places mentioned 
therein ? 

" 5. Am I a tolerable master of the sciences ? 
Have I gone through the very gate of them, logic ? 
If not, I am not likely to go much farther, when I 
stumble at the threshold. Do I understand it so 

MB. Wesley's views. 115 

as to be ever the better for it ? to have it always 
ready for use, so as to apply every rule of it, when 
occasion is, almost as naturally as I turn my hand ? 
Do I understand it at all? . . . Do I under- 
stand metaphysics ; if not the depths of the school- 
men, the subtilties of Scotus or Aquinas, yet the 
first rudiments, the general principles of that use- 
ful science ? Have I conquered so much of it as 
to clear my apprehension, and range my ideas 
under proper heads ; so much as enables me to 
read with ease and pleasure, as well as profit, 
Dr. Henry Moore's Works, Malebranche's Search 
after Truth, and Dr. Clarke's Demonstration of 
the Being and Attributes of God ? Do I under- 
stand natural philosophy ? If I have not gone 
deep therein, have I digested the general grounds 
of it ? Have I mastered Gravesande, Keill, Sir 
Isaac Newton's Principia, with his Theory of 
Light and Colors? 

" 6. Am I acquainted with the Fathers ; at 
least with those venerable men who lived in the 
earliest ages of the church ? Have I read over 
and over the golden remains of Clemens Romanus, 
of Ignatius and Polycarp, and have I given one 
reading, at least, to the works of Justin Martyr, 
Tertullian, Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, and 
Cyprian ? 

" How much shall I suffer in my usefulness, if I 
have wasted the opportunities I once had of ac- 
quainting myself with those great lights of an- 

116 MR. Wesley's views. 

tiquity, the anti-Nicene Fathers! or, if I have 
droned away those precious hours wherein I might 
have made myself master of the sciences, how 
poorly must I many times drag on, for want of the 
helps which I have vilely cast away ! But is not 
my case still worse, if I have loitered away the 
time wherein I should have perfected myself in 
Greek and Hebrew ? I might, before this, have 
been critically acquainted with these treasuries of 
sacred knowledge. But they are now hid from 
my eyes. They are close locked up, and I have 
no key to open them. However, have I used all 
possible diligence to supply that grievous defect, so 
far as it can be supplied, by the most accurate 
knowledge of the English Scriptures ? . . . 
Otherwise, how can I attempt to instruct others 
therein ? "Without this I am a blind guide in- 
deed ! I am absolutely incapable of teaching my 
flock what I have never learned myself ; no more 
fit to lead souls to God than I am to govern a 

From want of space we are deterred from quot- 
ing any more of this powerful address. that 
every follower of John Wesley would read it, and 
ponder it, and profit by it ! It is worthy of being 
written in letters of gold. Let every young can- 
didate for our ministry think, in the light of these 
searching questions, what kind of intellectual 
qualifications God and the church require of him 
for the great work. Let him notice what stress Mr. 

MR. Wesley's views. IIT 

"Wesley places upon a most thorough knowledge 
of the original Scriptures. Over and over again 
does he insist upon this, in this single address. 
A knowledge of the original Scriptures is the key 
of divine knowledge. But let me ask, How many 
of our ministers read the original Scriptures with 
comfort and edification to themselves, unless they 
have been trained and aided by teachers and schools ? 
"Where is there a thorough, self-educated scholar in 
the origin^ Scriptures among us ? After an ex- 
tensive acquaintance, for the past twenty years, 
both with our ministry and laity, I confess I have 
yet to find the first man of this description. I 
think it is not too much to say, that our young 
men upon our circuits and stations, with all the 
labors of the pastorate upon them, never can become, 
without instructors, such biblical scholars as Mr. 
"Wesley says they should be. I present it as a 
deliberate opinion, that such a ministry as Mr. 
Wesley describes in the above extracts cannot be 
obtained without the advantages of the best col- 
legiate and theological instruction. In other 
words, we must have separate biblical schools, 
or we must have their equivalent in biblical or 
theological departments in our colleges, in order 
to gain a ministry of such qualifications. And is 
not such a ministry desirable ? Where is the 
Methodist congregation that is not every year 
praying for a minister of such gifts and such 
grace as Mr. Wesley describes ? May God speed- 

118 MR. Wesley's views. 

ily put it into the hearts of our people to use the 
appropriate means to obtain such a ministry ! 
And may God speedily give us this best boon of 
the church — a laborious, a sanctified, and a learned 

MB. Wesley's plan. 119 


The fcyrmer History of Methodism in Connection with 
Ministerial Education by Biblical Schools a Reason 
why we should still highly value them. 

We regard it as a cardinal principle in Wes- 
leyan Methodism, that no man should be forbidden 
to preach the gospel in the local ranks whose gifts and 
grace, in the judgment of his brethren, are sufficient 
to make him useful ; but in respect to its ordained 
travelling ministry, it requires that it be well instructed 
and prepared, by a knowledge of both secular and sacred 
learning, for its most sacred and deeply-responsible 
work. This is the rule on which Methodism has 
gone from the beginning, with occasional excep- 
tions, which must always be the case in respect 
to general rules. 

Mr. Wesley first sought to elevate the learning, 
as well as the piety, of the ministry of the estab- 
lished church. To this end he gathered around 
him a considerable number of the young men of 
Oxford, and formed them into a regular biblical 
class, or school, and himself became their teacher. 
The venerable and learned editor of the Western 
Christian Advocate has recently given us a speci- 
men of their mode of studying, taken from a manu- 
script in Mr. Wesley's handwriting. We beg 
leave to present it to our readers as both curious 

120 MR. Wesley's mode 

and instructive. It contains, 1. The Lectio Grant' 
matica, 2. The Analytica, and 3. The Exegetica 
of the Scripture examined. The plan extended, 
according to this division, to each chapter in the 
four Gospels, except the first two in Matthew, and 
the last eight in John. 


Lectio Grammatica. 

4. o /tfxapiwrr]?. The Iscariot, i. e., the man of 
9. Mr^ }CTri<fYi(f^s, Have not, possess not. 
11. a^ioV, disposed to embrace the gospel. 
18. sk ixaprupiov aiiToTs, for a testimony to them. 

22. ovTos, He shall be saved. 

23. TskkfiTS Tug, X. T. X., for make what haste, 
£ug ek^-f], to destroy Jerusalem. 

25. irddu jULctXXov. This cannot refer to the quan- 
tity of contempt and persecution, but merely to 
the certainty of its coming. 

32. oii^okoyri(fu-sv a^'TfJ, Heb. 

35. ^ip^atfai, to separate. 


Our Lord's directions to his twelve disciples, 
now commissioned by him to preach, are con- 
tained in this chapter ; which consists of four 
general parts. 

I. Instructions whom to preach to : in verse 1st 
to the 7 th. 


II. Of the matter and manner of their preach- 
ing : in the 7th to the 16th. 

III. A prediction of the usage they ■were to ex- 
pect, and rules for their behavior under it : in the 
16th to the 24th. 

IV. A recommendation of patience upon several 
considerations; as, 1. Their Master having received 
the same treatment : in the 24th to the 26th. 2. 
The future vindication of their innocence ; being 
likewise a strong encouragement to preach boldly : 
in the 26th to the 28th. 3. The impotence of their 
enemies : in the 28th. 4. The particular provi- 
dence of God over them : in the 29th to the 32d. 
5. The future owning or denial of them by Christ, 
according as they own or deny him before men : 
in the 32d to the 34th. 6. The absolute necessity 
that discord and opposition from nearest relations 
should follow their preaching : in the 34th to the 
40th. 7. The great reward of those who received 
or assisted them. 


9. Take not any thing with you but what is ab- 
solutely necessary. 1. Lest it should retard you. 
2. Because my providence and your ministry will 
be your sufficient support. 

13. If it be not worthy, don't think your labor 
lost, for the blessing you wish them will return 
upon yourselves. 

14. Shake off the dust ; q. d., I've done ray part, 
utterly disdain any further converse with them. 

17. Yet beware of men ; for think not either 
your prudence or innocence will secure you from 

26. Fear them not ; let them slander you as they 

122 MR. Wesley's mode. 

please : your innocence will appear hereafter, and 
therefore preach with all boldness. 

28, 29. And as he is thus able to punish your 
apostasy, so will he be careful to defend you in 
your obedience. 

31. Fear not, therefore ; if he has such care over 
the most inconsiderable creatures, how much more 
of you, if you confess him before men, not only in 
this life, but in the other likewise ! 

33. To which you will be strongly tempted ; 
for think not that the immediate effect of my 
coming will be general peace, but division and 

37. Therefore he that loveth, &c. 

39. He, therefore, that loveth his life by com- 
plying, he that saveth his life by denying me, he 
shall lose it eternally. He that loses his life by 
confessing me shall find it eternally. 

40. And as you shall be thus rewarded, so, in 
their proportion, shall they who receive you. 

41. He that receives a Christian minister, as 
such, shall partake of his reward, and he that 
receives an ordinary Christian, nay, he that 
shows the smallest kindness to the weakest 
Christian, &c. 

The above is a pleasing evidence of Mr. Wes- 
ley's right views of biblical study, and of his de- 
votion to teaching the same. 

What Mr. Wesley attempted to do for the 
young men of Oxford, he, so far as he could, did 
for the young men among the Methodists. One 
of the first objects of his solicitude and care was 
to raise up, in connection with his people, a 
holy and a well-instructed ministry. We have 


already referred briefly to this subject in a 
preceding chapter. We wish to state the facts 
now with more particularity. Mr. Wesley, in 
the first conference of his preachers, embraced 
the idea of a separate biblical school for the 
laborers whom God was raising up in his so- 
cieties. In subsequent conferences the subject 
was discussed, but circumstances, at that time, 
seemed to be unfavorable for its establishment, 
on account of the want of suitable tutors, and the 
rapid spread of the work, and the consequent in- 
creased demand for additional laborers. 

But Mr. Wesley would not be thwarted in his 
pious designs on this point. He established the 
school at Kingswood, and actually sent a num- 
ber of his most promising preachers to study in 
that academy, one of whom was the celebrated 
Adam Clarke. In addition to this, Mr. Wesley 
enjoined upon his preachers a " course of study ; " 
and he himself, as far as circumstances permitted, 
became their instructor. In the Larger Minutes 
he says, " Read in order, with much prayer, first 
the Christian library, (containing fifty volumes,) 
and the other books which we have published, in 
prose and verse, and then those which we have 
recommended in the rules of Kingswood school." ^ 
This course of study and reading was full three 
times as great as the course of study now enjoined 

» Works, vol. V. p. 222. 

124 MR. Wesley's mode 

by our general conference, and fully equal to 
that pursued at our best theological schools at the 
present day. The classical course of reading, 
alone, was more extensive than that of most of 
our colleges and universities in this country. 
The same spirit and opinions have ever animated 
the most eminent of the Wesleyan ministers, the 
coadjutors and successors of Mr. Wesley. Dr. 
Adam Clarke exclaimed, only a few years after 
Mr. Wesley's death, " We want some kind of semi- 
nary for educating such workmen as need not be 
ashamed ! " And we have abundant reason to 
believe that Adam Clarke and Kichard Watson 
were both steady advocates of this measure — the 
establishment of a " Wesleyan theological institu- 
tion" — down to the day of their death. But 
the next generation of Wesleyan ministers have at 
length realized the original idea of Mr. Wesley in 
the establishment of a powerful theological insti- 
tution, a particular account of which we have 
given in the eleventh chapter. In view of these 
facts, we ask who are un-Methodisticd in respect 
to biblical schools, their advocates or opposers ? 
If the objector to ministerial education by means 
of biblical schools should plead that they are not 
Methodistical in America, however much they may 
be so in England, we would beg leave to present 
a few facts in our history, showing, at least, that 
the church, ever since its foundation, has been 
fully committed to the principle and practice of 


ministerial education. This principle has been 
sustained by our highest ecclesiastical authori- 
ties, the annual and general conferences, and by 
our bishops, and many of our principal ministers 
and members. But this will appropriately form 
the subject of our next chapter. 



Ministerial Education in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. — Position of the First Conferences and 
Bishops on this Siibject. — Opinions of Dr. Fisk 
and Dr. Olin. — Present Position of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church on this Question. 

In the present chapter we propose to consider 
the subject of ministerial education in the Meth- 
odist Episcopal church, by means of biblical 
schools. As we have shown in our last, the sub- 
ject of their establishment was earnestly discussed, 
and heartily concurred in^ by the fathers of Meth- 
odism in Europe. So, also, it has been in this 
country ; and nothing but the peculiar circum- 
stances of the church, the present pressing demand 
for laborers, has, till this time, hindered the supply 
of the provisions so long desired for the better 
training of our young men about to enter upon the 
sacred office. The time has now come when our 
work is more consolidated : our people are more 
wealthy and intelligent, and a corresponding de- 
mand is made for increased learning and intelli- 
gence on the part of the ministry. This state of 
things was foreseen by the early fathers of Meth- 
odism in this country, and they proceeded with 
their characteristic energy to provide accordingly. 
Even before the organization of the Methodist 


Episcopal church, " soon after the arrival of Dr. 
Coke, in 1784," says Dr. Bangs,i " he and Mr. 
Asbury entered into a consultation respecting 
the expediency of establishing a literary institu- 
tion for the education of the sons of our preachers 
and others who might wish to share its benefits. 
Bishop Asbury tells us that he desired a school ; 
but as Dr. Coke pleaded for a college, the con- 
ference, when the matter was submitted to them, 
decided in favor of Dr. Coke's plan, and measures 
were adopted to carry it into effect." 

A circular was published by the bishops, entitled 
A Plan for erecting a College,^ intended to advance 
Religion in America, &c. A portion of the first 
par^igraph of this circular, or " plan," we will here 
quote, for the purpose of showing the comprehen- 
sive and pious designs of the first bishops of our 
church. "The college is built at Abingdon, in 
Maryland, on a healthy spot, enjoying a fine air, 
and a very extensive prospect. It is to receive, 
for education and board, the sons of the elders 
and preachers of the Methodist church, poor or- 
phans, and the sons of the subscribers and other 
friends. It will be expected that all our friends, 
who send their children to the college, will, if they 
be able, pay a moderate sum for their education 
and board ; the rest will be taught and boarded, 

« Hist. Tol. i. p. 229. 

* It was afterwards agreed to call the College Cokeabury College^ 
after the names of the two bishops, Coke and Asbury. 


and, if our finances will allow of it, clothed, g-ra/w. 
TJie institution is also intended for the benefit of our 
young men, who are called to preach, that they may 
receive a measure of that improvement which is higMy 
expedient as a preparative for public service." 

Hence it appears that this institution was espe- 
cially designed for these three objects : (1.) To ed- 
ucate the sons of the preachers ; (2.) The sons of 
the poor ; (3.) Those " young men who are called 
to preach." Here, then, let it be observed, is 
a school, a college, and a biblical institution 
combined together — a striking proof of the pious, 
comprehensive, and intelligent designs of the first 
bishops and founders of our church. It should be 
observed, also, that the tuition of the young men 
was gratis, except to such as were able to pay. 
And collections were ordered to be taken in all 
the circuits, and the Book Concern paid about one 
thousand dollars annually towards its support.^ 

For ten years, under the watchful supervision of 
the bishops, the college flourished greatly, when 
its buildings were entirely destroyed by fire.^ 

' Emory's Hist, of the Discipline, pp. 240, 254, 255. 

* The followiag interesting account of the college at Abingdon 
I find in Lee's History of the Methodists, p. 116: "The college 
■was built on an eminence in Abingdon, and was of the following 
dimensions : 108 feet in length from east to west, and 40 feet in 
breadth from north to south, and stood on the siunmit and cen- 
tre of six acres of land. The house was di\-ided into rooms as fol- 
lows : At the west end there were two rooms on the lower floor, each 
25 by 20 ; the second and third stories the same. The rooms in the 


Through the persevering labors of Dr. Coke, it 
was resuscitated and located at Baltimore. Here 
it was again opened with a fairer promise of suc- 
cess than what had appeared when located at 
Abingdon ; but, unhappily, a similar fate awaited 
it. It Avas shortly after burned down a second 
time. Dr. Coke had returned to Europe, and 
Bishop Asbury became discouraged in regard to 
it. And until the general conference of 1816, 
the subject of education, both in the ministry and 
in the laity, was very much neglected. At this 
general conference, it was made " the duty of the 
bishops, or of a committee they may appoint, at 
each annual conference, to point out a course of 
reading and study proper to be pursued by candi- 
dates for the ministry ; and the presiding elder, 

cast end were of the same size vrith those in the west. In the middle 
of the lower floot was the college hall, 40 feet square, and over that, on 
the second floor, two school rooms ; and on the third floor, two 
bed chambers. At the ends of the hall were places for four sets of 
staircases, two at each end, with proper doors opening on the stair- 

" The college was built of brick, and from the top of it there was 
an extensive prospect both of the bay and of the adjacent country. As 
soon as the house was in order for the school to begin, even before 
any of the rooms were finished, a few scholars were collected, and a 
yiaster pro%'ided to teach them ; but the college was to be opened 
in form at a future day. On the 8th, 9th, and 10th days of Decem- 
ber, 1787, the college was opened, and Mr. Asbury preached each day. 
The dedication sermon [was delivered] on Sunday, from 2 Kings iv. 
40. On the 4th day of December, 1795, the college took fire by 
some means, but we cannot tell how, and was all burned down, and 
the library was consumed with the house." 



whenever such are presented to him, shall direct 
them to those studies -which have been thus 
recommended. And before any such candidate 
shall be received into full connection, he shall 
give satisfactory evidence respecting his knowl- 
edge of these particular subjects, which have been 
recommended to his consideration." ^ This rule 
has stood in the Discipline, nearly in the same 
words, down to the present day, and has operated 
to secure our ministry from the disgrace of igno- 
rance, and has greatly promoted the honor and 
usefulness of the church. 

We cannot refrain from expressing our thank- 
fulness for this rule of discipline. Here is, in 
principle and in fact, a school for the ministry. In 
every annual conference where there are candi- 
dates, there are regular classes, just as much as in 
any theological school in the land. And the 
presiding elders are charged " to direct " these 
candidates for orders among us " to their studies." 
Does not this imply that they are expected, at 
least, " to direct " them to their studies, so far as 
they can, in their quarterly visitations ? Then, at 
the end of the year, these classes of candidates 
must " give satisfactory evidence respecting their 
knowledge of those particular subjects whidt 
have been recommended to their consideration ; " 
and without this, no such candidate " can be received 
intofvM connection, or ordained deacon or elder." 

' See Discipline, 1848, pp. 36, 37, and 43. 


Now, we ask every candid mind, Is here not a 
biblical pcIiooI, both in principle and in fact ? Nay, 
further : is it not absolutely required that every can- 
didate pass through or graduate from this school 
before he can become a travelling elder in the 
Methodist Episcopal church ? As to the principle, 
and as to the fact, every one will see that it 
matters not whether the pupils and teacher meet 
together daily, monthly, or quarterly, or annually. 
We feel, therefore, safe in our conclusion, that the 
Methodist Episcopal church has always admitted 
the principle of theological instruction preparatory to 
tliefull work of the sacred ojffice. And only from the 
burning of Cokesbury College, in 1795, till 1816, 
did she omit to enjoin and carry on biblical and 
theological instruction in some specific form. 

But it became more and more evident, as year 
after year passed away, that something more must 
be done for the literary improvement of both min- 
istry and people. Hence, the Wesleyan Academy 
at New Market was established in 1817, under 
the patronage of the New England conference, 
and the "Wesleyan Seminary in New York city, 
under the patronage of the New York conference. 
Accordingly, at the next general conference,' in 
1820, the following resolutions were adopted : — 

'• 1. Resolved, by the delegates of the annual 
conferences in general conference assembled. That 
it be and is hereby recommended, to all the annual 
conferences, to establish, as soon as practicable, 


literary institutions under our own control, in such 
way and manner as they may think proper. 

" 2. Resolved, That it be the duty of the Episco- 
pacy to use their influence to carry the above 
resolution into effect, by recommending the sub- 
ject to each annual conference." 

From this time the Methodist Episcopal church 
took hold of the subject with renewed zeal. Semi- 
naries and colleges have multiplied throughout its 
length and breadth, and the new generation of 
Methodists are becoming educated equally as well, 
if not better than any other religious community in 
these states. The time now has fully come when 
a higher standard of ministerial attainment is de- 
manded, and this demand must be met, if Methodism 
is to do its duty to this and to coming generations. 
On this point I would not ask the reader to rely 
upon my views alone. Let us hear what that 
great and good man, "Wielbur Fisk, said nearly 
twenty years ago. I quote from his life, by Dr. 
Holdich, p. 305. " As a whole, our ministry is, in 
many respects, greatly deficient ; and what is to 
me a matter of deeper and more fearful interest, 
that deficiency will be felt more in twenty years 
than it now is, from the fact that, while society in 
general is advancing, we receive ministers on our 
old standards, and educate them in the old way, 
and hence shall raise up men of precisely the same 
character, to operate upon a material which, by the 
changes of society, is of a very different character. 


The odds against us, moreover, in future, will be 
the greater, from the fact that, while other de- 
nominations have lost nothing of their former 
intellectual and professional preparation, they 
have gained much in zeal and industry. The zeal 
and industry of the Methodist preachers formerly, 
notwithstanding their ignorance, gave them an 
ascendency in the ecclesiastical field over the 
ministers of other denominations, notwithstanding 
their knowledge. But let the latter possess both, 
and the former only retain the one, and they are 
unquestionably superseded. This is the crisis towards 
which we are rapidly tending." Again he says, 
in a letter to Rev. Thomas Stringfield, February, 
1835, (p. 307,) " It is the general opinion here, I 
think, both among the learned and the unlearned, 
that our young men might to be better instructed in 
theology, as well as in general science and literature, 
than they usually are wJien they enter the ministry, 
and better than they can be unthouf^some one to instruct 

" The old theory, you know, is, that the young 
men should, while on trial, and while deacons, be 
placed with experienced fathers, who should teach 
them. This is what some have called the ' Old 
Methodist Theological Seminary.' However well 
this may sound in theory, you and I very well know 
how it operates. In these days of practical phi- 
losophy, it is the working of a principle that gives 
it credit. This is true in general ; but I fear we 


are not such good philosophers. We call our 
machinery perfect, and have persisted against all 
experience. The fact is, and we ought to know it, 
the constitution and exigencies of the itinerant 
connection are such that it can never take the raw 
material and work it up to that extent, and in 
that degree of perfection, which is imperiously de- 
manded ; much less can it do it in its present con- 
dition ; for the machinery which is relied upon to 
accomplish this is itself in so unfinished a state, that 
in many of its parts it is but little advanced be- 
yond the raw material." 

Again : said Dr. Fisk, in an argument before the 
New England Conference, on this subject, in 1834, 
" The Methodist church Tiever discarded education 
in view of the ministry, nor for the ministry, but, on 
the contrary, always encouraged and insisted upon 
it, both in her discipline and by her usages. It is 
true she has not always sent her candidates to a 
literary and scientific institution for an education. 
She has endeavored to educate them in the work. 
In this she has done much, and done, too, in most 
cases in former years, the best thing she could do, 
considering the exigencies of the church. But 
this was always a tedious process, and only prac- 
ticable to a certain extent, and only profitable 
under certain circumstances. When the state of 
society advances, when theological knowledge 
increases, and when astute and learned opponents 
are in the field, the man of God must be proportion- 


ally advanced in his intellectual attainments. Besides, 
our own people now — whether right or wrong, 
they must judge — will not suffer us to fill up the 
ministry as we once did. They say in the greater 
portion of the work, * Do not send us uneducated 
boys, but men — men who can instruct us.' 

" As to the argument that God will call such 
men as are properly qualified, if he need any dif- 
ferent from what are now in the field, it seems to 
be an Antinomian heresy, a ceiisure upon the past pro- 
ceedings of the church, and an almost blasphemous ar- 
raignment of divine Providence. It is Antinomian- 
ism, for it implies that when the Head of the church 
wishes to accomplish any object for the church, he 
will do it without human cooperation, which is 
contrary to the whole analogy of the gospel. It is 
a censure upon the past proceedings of the church, 
because it has always and uniformly assumed that 
those whom God calls are not prepared for the 
holy office without probation and training. It is 
an arraignment of divine Providence, for the fact 
is, we have not the men suitable for the work ; and for 
this deficiency let not the church blame God, but 

The above noble, truthful, outspoken views of 
Dr. Fisk were uttered nearly twenty years ago ; 
and lapse of time has only served to confirm their 
truth. Dr. Fisk not only spoke — he acted ac- 
cording to his convictions. As early as the year 
1827, while Principal of the academy at "Wilbra- 


ham, he organized and instructed a theological 
class ; ^ and in the letter above quoted to Rev. Mr. 
Stringfield, he says, " What I have here proposed 
is not mere theory. I have acted upon this prin- 
ciple more or less ever since I entered upon the 
business of education, and I have now a class of 
from twenty to thirty promising young men under 
this kind of training." To Dr. Fisk, doubtless, 
belongs the honor of originating the movement in 
New England for establishing a biblical institu- 
tion, which has finally resulted in the establish- 
ment of the Biblical Institute at Concord, N. H. 

I would in this connection, also, present my 
readers the views of that great and good man. 
Dr. S. Olin, who has so recently passed away 
from our sight, as expressed in a letter to Dr. 
Bangs, dated Liverpool, England, August 6, 1839.^ 
Dr. Olin says, " I will not allow this opportunity 
to pass without expressing my most deliberate con- 
viction, that the establishment of theological schools 
is indispensable to our future progress. I would 
not stir a controverted question on such an oc- 
casion ; yet I may not conceal my opinion, how- 
ever worthless. I have too many admonitions 
that whatever I say or do for the honor of 
Christ, and for his cause, must be done with 
little delay. I may not see my country again, 

» See his Life, p. 108. 

2 See the Christian Advocate and Journal of Sept. 27, 1839. 



or again worship with the people of my choice ; 
but 1 shall continue to love the church, and pray 
for its prosperity. I dare not omit to declare that 
tlie conviction I have here expressed gains strength 
ivith the progress of years. We have already suffered 
much for the want of such instituti&tis, and they are 
now indispensable to the fall discharge of our duty to 
Christ and souls." 

Dr. Olin continued to cherish these sentiments, 
and was only prevented from actively engaging 
in the establishment of such an institution among 
us by the embarrassments of the Wesleyan Uni- 
versity, and his own feeble health. But he has 
left us to do the work. He has joined the sainted 
Fisk. And they, though dead, yet speak unto us 
on this, as well as many other subjects, from the 
heavenly glory. 

But this is not all. About the time that these 
venerated fathers in the Methodist Episcopal 
church uttered the above sentiments, the subject 
of Ministerial training began to be earnestly 
discussed, especially in New England. It was 
found that our schools and colleges, on the ordi- 
nary plan, were insufficient for the wants of our 
candidates for the ministry. It began to be 
clearly seen that a proper biblical course of 
study and instruction could not be carried out 
without the establishment of a separate and dis- 
tinct department, and of a separate and distinct 



From these facts, probably, the bishops, in their 
address to the general conference of 1840, use the 
following language on the subject of ministerial 
education : " "We cannot too deeply impress upon 
your minds the importance of preserving in our 
own power the direction and control of the system 
of collegiate and theological education in the 
church. ... As a Christian community, all 
our institutions of learning should be sanctuaries 
of theological science. . . . "We cannot but 
believe that the doctrines, history, evidences, and 
MORALS o/* revelation should be regarded as forming 
OTie of the most important departments in our system, 
of collegiate education. We are aware that such a 
feature in the course of study in our colleges 
would subject them to the too common objection 
of being tJieological seminaries. This objection would 
certainly come with better grace from tlie lips of infi- 
dels than from the tongues or pens of professed believers 
in the divine authenticity of the Christian revelation." ^ 
The principle of theological education was thus 
nobly declared by the bishops ; and the general con- 
ference, as we shall presently see, fully indorsed it.^ 

The whole subject was referred to the commit- 

1 Bangs's Hist. vol. iv. p. 354. 

* The bishops, after having thus ably insisted on the principle 
of THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION, then proceed to guard the application 
of the principle in the following words : " "WhUe, in our opinion, the 
science of the icord of God should be a paramount hrmich of instruc- 
tion in our literary institutions, we desire not to be understood as 
recommending the establishment of ' theological seminaries, in the 


tee on education, and they reported in regard to 
it as follows : " In the institutions which embrace 
the ancient languages, they recommend that the 
Old and New Testaments be studied in the ori- 
ginals critically. They also recommend that the 
evidences of Christianity and ecclesiastical history 
constitute a part of the regular course in all our 
colleges and universities." 

" This report," says Dr. Bangs,^ " was very 
unanimously adopted by the conference," and he 
appropriately adds, " that it is highly proper that 
biblical instruction should be adopted in all our 
seminaries of learning." 

We therefore consider it a settled doctrine that 
biblical and theological instruction are not only 
authorized, but '^recommended" by the highest au- 
thorities of the Methodist Episcopal church. If it 
be said this was designed by the general confer- 
ence to apply to all classes of students, secular as 
well as divinity students, a position we do not ac- 

common acceptation of that term ; ' that is, for the special purpose of 
educating men for the work of the gospel ministrj'." 

" By theological seminaries, in the common acceptation," the 
bishops doubtless refer to the theological institutions of other de- 
nominations, in which no evidence is required of the candidates for 
admission, as to their caU from God to the work of the ministry. 
The bishops could not hare objected to the specific training of such 
men for the ministerial work, but to the training or educating men 
who presented no evidence of a di^dne call to the work, as is the 
case in other denominations. To this they might well object, as 
both contrary to Methodism, and dangerous to the chxirch. 

> Bangs's Hist. vol. iv. p. 394. 


cept, yet admitting it, it is so much the better for 
our view. If secular students should be taught 
to read the Bible critically, i. e,, in the original 
tongues, and to study some of the most important 
departments of theology, how much more should the 
young minister of the gospel be well instructed in 
these things, whose whole business it is to teach 
and preach the doctrines of the word of God. 

The recent events bearing on this point, that 
have transpired in the church, fully confirm our 
views. "We refer to the actual establishment of a 
biblical school, under the patronage of eight of 
the Annual Conferences, at Concord, N. H,, and 
the establishment also of biblical departments in 
several of our colleges and universities, and the 
sanction of the General Conference in receiving 
these institutions and adopting them as its own, 
and recommending their support to our people, 
and permitting the bishops to appoint our minis- 
ters as instructors in the same. All this conclu- 
sively shows that the charge of being anti-Meth- 
odistical rather belongs to the opposers than to the 
friends of ministerial education in the Methodist 
Episcopal church. 

And finally, we would remark, that all this 
fully accords with the original Methodistic and 
scriptural plan of our fathers and of the primitive 



TJie Connection of Ministerial Education in Biblical 
Schools loith the Missionary Cause. 

"We have been accustomed to consider Method- 
ism as a "revival of primitive Christianity," as 
" Christianity in earnest," and as the grand system 
of means, under God, to promote "the spread of 
scriptural holiness over the world." In this view 
Methodism is missionary in its character, as its 
objects cannot otherwise be accomplished. 

It is a fundamental principle in Methodism, that 
we are to go, not only to those who want us, but 
to those who want us most. Christianity, in the 
first ages, did not stop in the courts of princes, 
and in the palaces of the rich, but pressed on be- 
yond them to the poor, and the ignorant, and the 
wretched. Paul counted himself not a debtor to 
the Greeks only, but also to the Barbarians. The 
love of Christ and of souls must ever impel the 
earnest Christian heart to pass into " the regions 

" Till earth's remotest nation 
Has learned Messiah's name." 

Methodism, therefore, as " Christianity in ear- 
nest," must go to the heathen with its messages of 
grace. But in evangelizing the heathen, these 
three things, at least, are implied : 1. The preach- 


ing of the gospel. 2. Giving the Bible to the 
heathen in their own tongue. 3. The education 
of themselves and their children, and the training 
up of native helpers — ministers — who may carry- 
on the work of God, when the voice of the mis- 
sionary is silent in death. 

First. It is implied in preaching the gospel to the 
heathen, that the missionary has learned the native 
language — not a little of its colloquial only, but 
the body of the language itself, so that he may 
state and expound the great doctrines of our holy 
religion in a manner most clear and convincing 
to the heathen mind. How much one is assisted 
by a liberal and thoroughly classical education in 
acquiring a foreign language, will be readily seen 
by such as have had any experience in this matter. 

The second and most important work of the 
missionary is to supply the heathen vnth the word of 
God itself. No great permanence can be antici- 
pated in heathen converts without the written 
word. Like the early converts at Berea, they 
must be able to " search the Scriptures daily, to see 
whether these things be so." They must be braced 
and fortified by the written word. This, of course, 
cannot be done without reducing the language to 
writing, and rendering the Scriptures into the 
heathen tongue. HencQ, in order that the heathen 
may read, arises the necessity of schools and school 
books ; and when organized into churches, digests 
of Christian doctrine — church formularies and 


discipline — hymns and psalmody for sacred wor- 
ship, all become necessary. See, then, the extraor- 
dinary qualifications of the Christian missionary. 
To translate the Scriptures, he must be a profound 
scholar in the original languages and literature 
of the Bible. He should also be a man deeply 
versed in science and literature generally ; else 
he can by no means be qualified to lay the founda- 
tions of a nation's literature, to prepare the text 
books for its schools, to direct the whole business 
of instruction, both secular and religious. All 
this the missionary must do. Who does not' see, 
then, that he should be specifically educated for 
his work, and especially trained in the languages 
and literature of the Scriptures ? And where can 
this be done so well as in our biblical schools ? 
— in schools where an able corps of teachers shall 
devote themselves exclusively to this work, and 
where the students may have no other care but 
how they may best learn the word of God, and 
how they may best perform the work to which 
God has called them. 

On this subject it becomes us to study the exam- 
ple set us by our elder brethren of Great Britain. 
As we have seen in a former chapter, they have 
established a powerful biblical or theological in- 
stitution designed to train the most promising 
young men of the church for the mission field, as 
well as the field at home. Since 1834, upwards 
of sixty men have been sent out fi'om this institu- 


tioii into various parts of the heathen world. 
Nine years ago they had rendered the Scriptures 
into fourteen different languages. They look to 
their theological institution to supply their men 
for this most responsible part of the missionary 
work, viz., that of translating and publishing the 
Scriptures and other religious books into the 
heathen tongues. Thus far it has more than ful- 
filled their expectations. Some of the most useful 
missionaries of the Wesleyan Methodist church 
have been raised up at this institution. 

The missionaries of the American board have 
given the sacred volume to more than thirty dif- 
ferent languages within the last forty years. And 
they are sending out men well qualified for this 
work every year. The English and American 
Baptists, also, have given the Bible to the heathen 
in more than forty difi'erent languages ; while the 
Methodist Episcopal church has not yet fully ac- 
complished this work in a single instance. 

Not only other Protestant sects, but even 
Romanism, should shame us, and provoke us to 
good works in this matter. For more than two 
hundred years, Romanism has had its seminary, at 
Rome, for the propagation of the faith, for the 
purpose of educating missionaries. It is said that 
the instructions imparted in this seminary are 
well adapted to the end, and are eminently supe- 
rior in the department of languages. All the im- 
portant languages of the globe are taught there, 


and its expenses amount to fifty thousand Roman 
dollars annually. By means of this powerful in- 
stitution, Romanism, with all its errors, has been 
planted in almost every important region of the 
earth. A diligence and zeal have been manifested 
by its disciples, which would have done honor to a 
purer faith and a better cause. 

The principal reason why the Methodist Episco- 
pal church has done next to nothing in translating 
the Scriptures, is plainly because our missionaries 
have not been qualified for this kind of work ; 
and they, thus far, have not been properly quali- 
fied, because we have not had the requisite schools 
in which to train them. So, also, doubtless, it 
loould have been with the American, the Presby- 
terian, and the Baptist boards, had they not had 
their theological schools as at Andover, Princeton, 
Newton, and other places. To the honor of the 
Andover school, and to the praise of the blessed 
Spirit, be it spoken, that four of the members of 
this school, as early as the year 1809, began to 
meditate and pray over the subject of a mission to 
the heathen. The names of Judson, Mills, Newell, 
and Nott will ever be held in grateful remem- 
brance by the church. As they meditated and 
prayed, their convictions of duty became clear, 
and they, moved doubtless by the Holy Ghost, 
solemnly covenanted together to devote them- 
selves to the work of the gospel in heathen lands. 

In the following year, 1810, these young men 
13 j" 


presented to the General Association of Congre- 
gational Ministers of Massachusetts a petition 
commencing in the following language : " The un- 
dersigned, members of the Divinity College, re- 
spectfully request the attention of their reverend 
fathers, convened in the general association of 
Bradford, to the following : They beg leave to 
state that their minds have been long impressed 
with the duty and importance of personally at- 
tempting a mission to the heathen." The result 
of this application was, that the American board 
was established, and Messrs. Judson, Newell, Nott, 
and two others were appointed missionaries to 
India, to labor wherever Providence should open 
the most effectual door. After these men of God 
had endured " a great fight of afflictions," and 
almost incredible labors, and sufferings, and perils, 
their missions became established, and God smiled 
upon their labors. Dr. Judson, as is well known, 
ch£lnged his views on the subject of baptism, and 
hence arose the American Baptist Union. Behold 
now what a flame has arisen from the little fire 
kindled up in the hearts of a few young men at 
Andover ! These two mighty missionary boards, 
which arose out of their prayers and devotion, 
have now nearly a thousand laborers in the foreign 
Jidd. Churches have been raised up on heathen 
shores, which already number about forty thousand 
members. They have schools and printing presses 
in all their principal stations. They have trans- 


lated the Bible into about forty different lan- 
guages. They have aimed to make every man hear, 
" in his own tongue, the wonderful works of God." 
The fruits of their prayers and labors are in al- 
most every part of the globe. " Tlmr line has 
gone out through all tJie earth, and their words to the 
ends of the world." 

Let this fact now be borne in mind, that this 
great missionary movement commenced in a bibli- 
cal school, and has, up to this hour, been carried 
on, almost entirely, under the blessing of God, by 
men who have been raised up in these schools. 

Enough of facts has no«v been exhibited to 
show that biblical schools are highly necessary to 
prepare our foreign missionaries for their responsi- 
ble work. It is out of the question to expect un- 
lettered or poorly-educated men to translate the 
Scriptures, to write and publish books as our 
foreign missionaries must do. To expect this end 
without the use of the appropriate means, is rank 
Antinomianism. "We come, irresistibly, to the con- 
clusion, then, in order to discharge our whole 
duty to Christ and to the souls of the heathen, 
that we, as a church, are called upon to establish 
schools, or means of instruction of this character, 
with as little delay as possible, that each of 
our missions among the heathen may have a sup- 
ply, in part, at least, of men of the best qualifi- 

Before we close this chapter, I would respectfully 


ask my brethren of the ministry and membership 
of the Methodist Episcopal church, whether we 
•who believe in the doctrine that Jesus Christ, 
" hy the grace of God, has tasted death for every man" 
and that " his blood ckanseth us from all unrighteous- 
ness " — whether we should altogether give up 
the Bible to be translated by those who deny these 
precious doctrines. What is more natural than 
that translators, even of the Scriptures, should 
give the hue and coloring of their own opinions 
to their translations ? How much the cause of 
sound doctrine and the cause of Christ now suf- 
fer from the Calvinistic shading, in our version, 
of such passages as Psalm ex. 3 ; Rom. ix. 15 ; 
Acts 11. 47 ; xiii. 48 ; and Heb. vi. 6, all well-in- 
structed biblical^cholars cannot fail to perceive. 
Shall we, as lovers of Christ and his precious doc- 
trine, permit such improper translations to go on 
to burden fhe necks and confound the understand- 
ings of coming generations ? Shall we, for ex- 
ample, permit Dr. Judson's successors in India to 
go on as he did, translating the Greek term 
?a*Ti^w, to immerse, and thus permit them to make 
Baptists of these teeming nations of the East? 
Shall we not raise up and send forth our mission- 
ary scholars, who shall have an eye to these mat- 
ters — men who shall be able to enter their pro- 
test against such abuses of the divine word 
— men Avith the requisite learning and ability to 
stand up by the side of their brethren of other 


denominations on the distant heathen shores, 
and demonstrate every such departure from the 
truth of the original ? 

Too long, already, have we permitted this thing 
to go on without correction, and almost without 
inquiry. There is no one Christian sect that can 
safely be made the exclusive depositary of the 
word of God. It belongs to the whole church, 
and the whole church should look after this, our 
palladium. In this matter we are, undoubtedly, 
called upon to watch over one another in love. 
Wherever there is a Calvinist missionary, there 
ought to be an Arminian by his side ; and wher- 
ever there is a Baptist, there ought to be a Pedo- 
baptist also. Thus correcting one another's er- 
rors, — stirring up each other in the work of God, 
— we shall hasten on the latter-day glory, when 
" the watchmen shall see eye to eye, when the 
Lord shall bring again Zion." 



Some Reasons why Candidates for the Ministry of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church should be thoroughly 
instructed for their Work. 

"We propose to present our readers witli some 
plain reasons why our candidates for the ministry- 
should be thoroughly instructed for their future work, 
and that, too, before they enter fully upon it. . 

1. Our first reason is, because the membership, 
and our congregations generally, demand it. Our 
people say, now, to the appointing power, from 
the poorest country circuit to the richest city con- 
gregation, " Do not send us uneducated boys, but men 
— wen who can instruct us." 

So greatly has our work been modified within 
the last thirty years, that it is utterly impossible 
to pursue the same policy now as was pursued 
formerly. It was the plan then to send the young 
men into the back circuits, where they, usually, 
did not preach to the same congregation oftener 
than once in two, four, or six weeks. An exhor- 
tation would pass well, then, instead of a sermon. 
But it is not so with the present generation. The 
old circuits have very generally been cut up into 
stations. In some of the conferences there is not 
a single circuit on the old plan. The young man 
who is now called out into the work, instead of 


standing before the same congregation once in 
four weeks, finds himself compelled to face them 
every Sabbath, and, in most instances, two or three 
times every Sabbath. And it Avill not do to utter 
the same thoughts. He is compelled to bring out 
of his treasure things new, as well as old, or he will 
certainly fail to satisfy his hearers. And this 
is, for the most part, as true of the country as of 
the city congregations, and mere exhortations 
•will not answer. The people must and will 
have sermons — elaborated and well-prepared sermons. 
And that young man who enters now upon the 
charge of one of our congregations, without a 
good ability to supply this demand, enters upon 
a dangerous road. 

Besides this, he must attend to the multifarious 
duties of the pastorate. He must visit and be- 
come thoroughly acquained with his people. He 
must reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all long- 
suflfering and doctrine. In many cases he will be 
called to exercise discipline — a work of peculiar 
difficulty and responsibility. From this respon- 
sibility, under the old plan, the young man was 
generally exempt. But the whole burden of these 
things must now come upon his shoulders. His 
people — his circumstances — demand it of him, 
and there is no escape. How important it is, 
then, for the young incumbent of the sacred office, 
that the burden of his studies be finished before he 
enters upon his onerous and responsible duties 1 


2. JS'ot only the people, hut the relations of the 
itinerancy, demand a well-instriLcted ministry. The 
itinerancy is based upon the mutual concession of 
rights by the ministry and laity to a third party, 
the people, conceding to the episcopacy their 
right of choosing their pastors, and the pastors 
submitting themselves to the same authority, to 
labor in such fields as its godly judgment may 
deem best. In this system of itinerancy it is un- 
derstood that the people shall yield their pastor a 
competent support. And the people, therefore, 
have a right to demand that their pastors be 
properly qualified for their ofi&ce — men who will 
be faithful and diligent — men who can properly do 
the work committed to their charge. If the pas- 
tors are unfit for their work, then they have no 
right to demand a support any more than unquali- 
fied lawyers, physicians, or teachers would have a 
right to demand their support, or to expect it from 
the people. I see not why the quid pro quo prin- 
ciple, something for something, should not apply to 
the ministry as well as other callings. But it 
should here be remarked, as the ministry has an 
infinitely higher object in view than merely world- 
ly concerns, there is a further obligation resting 
upon the church, to see to it that this office, which 
Heaven has committed to our charge, should be 
made efficient, in the highest degree, for the great 
purposes of its existence. On this ground it is 
that both ministers and people are called upon to 


aid in the establishment of facilities for biblical 
and theological instruction. As the state feels 
itself bound to educate the citizen, in order to its 
preservation and prosperity, so the church is much 
more bound to educate its ministers, as their 
functions and responsibilities are of an infinitely 
higher character. 

3. Inasmuch as the ministry depends on its 
character for its usefulness, by the blessing of 
God, there hence arises a powerful reason why 
the church should have a well-instructed ministry. 
The ministry must be " of good report of them ivho 
are vnthout ; " it must be " apt to teach,^' and able to 
teach. It must be . intellectually respectable as 
well as morally blameless. And especially should 
this be the case in the Methodist ministry, since 
we are more thoroughly connectional than most 
other orders of Christian ministers. If one of our 
number be incompetent and inadequate for his 
work, our whole body suffers on his account. He 
becomes a reproach to the general body, under 
whose sanction and authority he presents himself 
before the community as a minister. If there be 
any doubt that a candidate will be respectable 
and useful among our Wesleyan brethren, in the 
work of the ministry, he is promptly advised to 
enter some other calling. Thus an influence of 
the highest order is attained by them over the 
popular mind. They are respected and revered 
alike by the learned and unlearned, by the rich 


and by the poor. It is an influence based on 
solid merit — on decided talents and eminent at- 
tainments. This is as it should be ; otherwise, 
one of these things would follow, either, (1.) There 
would be an aristocracy among the ministry, com- 
posed mostly of the educated class, who would 
fill the best stations ; or, (2.) The Methodists must 
be content to labor among the lower classes of 
society, — the poor and the ignorant, — and leave 
the educated and higher classes to other denomina- 
tions ; or, (3.) The more prominent churches must 
virtually dictate to the appointing power be-_ 
fore they receive their ministers. This is already 
the case among us to some extent. There are 
some churches who feel themselves compelled to 
take high ground, and say such and such men we 
cannot have. 

We ought not to embrace either of these alterna- 
tives. There is a more excellent way. Let all cnir 
young men, as far as practicable, he well educated. If 
Providence has provided the means, and their cir- 
cumstances, in other respects, render it practicable, 
let them not fail to pass through all the gra- 
dations, from the common school, through the 
academy, the college, and the biblical seminary. 
What noble-hearted, understanding Methodist 
minister or member would not be glad to see 
our candidates for the ministry enjoying all these 
facilities for mental and professional training ? 
If our young men could thus generally be edu- 


cated, they would be more on a level with each 
other. The odious aristocracy, which would other- 
wise grow up, would scarcely appear. Our iu- 
fluence would extend to all classes of society, 
the highest as well as the lowest, and the ap- 
pointing power would experience a wonderful 
relief in the work of distributing the laborers. 
"We would sa}'^, then, to the young men of our 
church contemplating the work of the ministry, 
settle it in your minds to educate yourselves iu 
the best manner possible for the great work. 
You must do this if you would take an equal place 
with your brethren, and if you would, do the best 
service for Christ and the church. 

4. Another reason why we should thoroughly 
furnish our young men intellectually before enter- 
ing upon their work is, that tlxe, appointing povoer 
may the more readily station them. Great perils 
arise to the itinerancy, and great vexations to the 
bishops, and to the pastors, and to their families, 
from this cause alone. It is well known that there 
is a class of well-qualified men among us who can 
always be stationed without difficulty. And there 
is another class of men, it is well known, who 
are stationed with the greatest difficulty. The 
churches call for weU-furnished men. The kind of 
men demanded are scarce, and the bishops cannot 
supply them, for the conferences have them not. 
Another class is sent. The result is, that the 
clmrches become dissatisfied, and the cause suf- 


fers. The bishop and his cabinet are blamed, 
unto whom the blame least belongs. These excel- 
lent men have done the very best in their poAver 
to distribute the laborers ; and if any portion of 
the ministry does not give satisfaction to the 
churches, it must be generally because of their 
want of intellectual qualifications. I might pre- 
sent facts, here, in illustration of the position, but 
I forbear. My intelligent brethren in the ministry 
have seen facts enough for themselves, to satisfy 
them that my position is correct. What observant 
minister or member among us can for a moment 
doubt that it would be for the benefit, both of the 
people and of the ministry, in the increase of 
mutual respect and confidence towards each other, 
and especially to the relief of the appointing 
power, if our young men had availed themselves 
of the best facilities in preparation for the sacred 
ofl&ce ? But how can the young men use these fa- 
cilities, unless the church supplies them ? 

5. Another reason why our young men should 
be well furnished, intellectually, before entering 
upon their work, is, that tliey may have more time 
to devote to pastoral labor. The Methodist minister, 
who only preaches acceptably to his people, does 
no more than half his work. In the language of 
the Discipline, " What availeth public preaching alone, 
though we could preach like angels ? We must, yea, 
every travelling pi-eaching must, instruct the people from 
house to house.'^ Pastoral labor ought regularly to 


occupy alf least four afternoons in the week. 
And then the forenoons the pastor cannot always 
control for his own studies. He is, and must be, 
the servant of all. His domestic affairs must be 
attended to — the sick must be visited, and the 
dead must be biu'ied ; and as to the time for these 
things, he cannot always be the chooser. He must 
become acquainted with his people, with • every 
member of liis church ; and, in our judgment, he 
ought to be acquainted with every member of his 
congregation : though this is difficult to be at- 
tained, from our system of frequent removals, yet 
every good pastor will labor to attain it as far as 
possible. He should know, also, the lambs of his 
flock, — the children of his people, — and bear upon 
his heart the deepest solicitude for their welfare. 
The first three or four months of his residence will 
hardly suffice for this onerous task in a large con- 
gregation. "We cannot, here, even name the reg- 
ular and common duties of the pastoral office. 
Suffice it to say, they are multifarious, and often 
difficult and exceedingly perplexing. Even the 
best educated ministers — men of maturity, and 
men of the best powers — often find it exceeding- 
ly difficult to keep up with this most responsible 
part of their work. How, then, can it be expected 
of a young man, who is still inexperienced, im- 
mature in mind and body — a mere novice in his 
studies, who, in some' instances, is to get the first 
elements of an. English education ; and further 


than this, -who is called upon to pursue a course 
of study, some parts of which are quite above his 
comprehension, and which, of itself, if thoroughly- 
pursued, is sufficient to occupy all his time ? And 
yet, study this he must, or be pronounced deficient 
at the coming conference. The result of all this 
is, that the young man must neglect his studies, or 
he must neglect his pastoral work, oi: his health, 
if not his life, must be sacrificed. 

We must bear it in mind that the ancient order 
of things — our old-fashioned circuits — have 
passed away, at least in the eastern and middle 
conferences, and all attempts to restore them must 
ever prove futile. The exhilarations of riding, 
journeying, and varied scenery must now be given 
up for the sober reality of facing the same congre- 
gation two or three times a week, who are look- 
ing to him to bring forth, out of his treasures, on 
every new occasion, things both "new and old." 
It is time that such treatment of our young men 
should come to an end, and we must apply our 
minds to seek out some remedy for this evil. 
Undoubtedly, the chief remedy is to provide them 
with the means of instruction, and have them im- 
prove them before entering fully upon the dis- 
charge of tlieir sacred functions. Let them go 
through the whole subject of theology, and be- 
come well instructed in the languages and litera- 
ture of the Bible, as well as the literature of their 
own tongue. They will then have time, when in- 


trodnced to the charge of a congregation, to at- 
tend to their pastoral work, and properly to pre- 
pare for the pulpit. The congregation will be 
satisfied, the health and life of the young minister 
preserved, and God will more fully be glorified. 
6. It is exceedingly desirable that the new gener- 
ation of Methodist ministers may da more than the 
former generation has done, in writing for the press, 
and thus gaining an influence over the public mind, 
and leaving works for the edification of posterity. 
What gratitude to God should ever swell the 
bosom of every Methodist, that the founders of 
our church were powerful and graceful writers 
as well as preachers 1 Without the writings of 
John Wesley, Methodism, at this day, would have 
been disjointed and fragmentary — mere disjecta 
membra of a lifeless body. Were we, even now, 
to lose the sweet, the heavenly lyrical composi- 
tions of Charles Wesley, what an essential ele- 
ment of our popular power would be taken away 
from the solemn assemblies of our people ! How 
much we owe to Fletcher's Checks, in relieving 
the thoughtful who have been trained up under 
the influence of Calvinistic instructions 1 How 
much we owe to the learned and evangelical 
expositions of Benson and Clarke, in sustaining 
our reputation, and in feeding our people with the 
bread of the word 1 What a debt of gratitude we 
owe to God for such an excellent, powerful, and 
learned advocate of Methodist doctrine as Richard 


Watson ! His able biblical writings, and Theologi- 
cal Institutes, will ever remain among the chief 
defences of sound doctrine, and the enduring 
monuments of his fame. 

But all these fathers in our Zion were men of 
very considerable training in the schools before 
they entered into the work of the ministry. We 
need a new generation of such able defenders and 
promoters of our cause ; and how can we expect 
to have them, without using the means to raise 
them up ? 

Methodist theology, on many points, needs to 
be re-written, and on many points, also, to be writ- 
ten out more fully than ever before, to meet the 
various phases of error which have become preva- 
lent at the present day. We have, for some time, 
needed new commentaries on the Scriptures, that 
our people may avail themselves of the recent 
advances made in biblical knowledge. Alas ! 
what can we expect, if we neglect the education 
of our candidates for the ministry, but barrenness 
and reproach to our denominational literature ? 

We say, then, let our ministry become early 
and thoroughly instructed, both in divine and 
human learning. Let the foundations be well 
laid before entering upon the full discharge of 
professional duty, while the mind is free from 
care, and the urgent responsibilities of life do not 
consume the time and talents of our young men. 
Then, in after life, some one of the great lines of 


Christian learning may be followed out, and an 
Analogy of religion, a commentary on the Scrip- 
tures, or a system of divinity, will be the result, 
to the salvation of souls and the glory of God. 

7. Our rising ministry should be thoroughly 
educated, that they may have their appropriate share 
of influence in promoting the great cause of popu- 
hr education. In some of the states, such of the 
ministry as are well qualified are usually chosen 
the superintendents of the public schools. They 
are to examine the teachers, to visit and inspect 
the schools, and are thus constituted the general 
guardians of the cause of education. Such a rela- 
tion as this, to all the teachers and children of a 
township, opens to the minister a wide sphere of 
influence, which he may use for the advancement 
of the cause of Christ. But if he is not an 
educated man, he is usually not deemed fit for 
this office, and is rightly passed by because of his 

There is a larger sphere of usefulness for many 
of our ministry, in the work of education, than even 
this, which cannot be filled except by educated 
men. The care of our higher seminaries of learn- 
ing must principally devolve upon our educated 
ministry ; and we should have our share of in- 
fluence, also, in the institutions founded by the 
state, and by general charities. In order to supply 
this demand, we must raise up men whose attain- 
ments and talents will command the public confi- 
14* K 


dence, and who shall be well fitted for these posts 
of high responsibility and power. 

It is also highly expedient that our ministry 
should take a leading part in all the primary ed- 
ucational movements of the country, for the im- 
provement and establishment of schools, to stand 
up by the side of their brethren of other denomi- 
nations, and unite with them in the honors and 
responsibilities of so holy a cause ; and it is 
scarcely needful to add, that unless, by experience, 
they become acquainted with the advantages of 
an education themselves, they will not be prepared, 
neither will they have the heart and moral courage, 
to enter into these great interests by the side of 
superior men. 

8. Our young men should be well educated be- 
fore entering into the service, as experience has 
shown that tJie present system is very destructive to 
health and life. Says a late writer in our Quarterly 
Review, " The precipitancy with which we have 
pressed our young men into our laborious ministry 
has been a crying evil. It has sent hosts of them 
to premature graves. It has inflicted upon many 
physical disabilities which have subtracted from 
their usefulness through life. It has occasioned a 
startling inefl"ective list, which draws upon the 
resources of the church for support, and suffers, 
notwithstanding, amidst our very altars. There 
are now five hundred and eleven superannuated and 
supernumerary preachers reported in our minutes 


— nearly one eighth of our whole ministry. Our 
ministerial tables of mortality have scarcely a 
parallel. Nearly half of all the Methodist preach- 
ers, whose deaths have been recorded, fell before 
they were thirty years of age. About two thirds 
died after twelve years' itinerant service."^ Such 
facts as these should certainly cause the church to 
pause and consider whether much of this astonish- 
ing mortality is not attributable to the haste with 
which we have urged our youthful laborers into 
our hard service. 

9. Again : The ministry must be thoroughly ed- 
ucated, in order to enjoy and wield the highest degree 
of moral power. " Knowledge is power," said Lord 
Bacon ; and especially is this so in that kind of 
knowledge which is the result of personal ex- 
perience, as when one can say, My eyes have seen, 
my ears have heard, and I know for myself , and not 
for another. A minister, for example, who is not 
well skilled in the original tongues, can never be 
independent in scriptural exposition. Such a man 
must rely upon the expositions of others. The re- 
ligious teacher, in this position, feels as though his 
feet were on the sand. He cannot assert his po- 
sitions with confidence, for the simple reason that 
he sees with the eyes of others, and depends upon 
their understanding, which may be right or may 
be wrong. Hence he is without power in him- 

» See Methodist Quarterly Eeview for April, 1852, p. 299. 


self, and hence, also, his power is feeble over 

There is a moral sublimity in a minister's 
standing up, above all servility, calling no man 
master, with the messages of Heaven with sunlike 
brightness flashing from his own soul upon as- 
sembled multitudes around him. Let a man fed 
and speak as though conviction was settled and en- 
throned in his own bosom, and he will soon en- 
throne it in the bosoms of others. It is the minis- 
ter's business to persuade men of the eternal veri- 
ties of the Bible. He should be like Moses, just 
come down from the mount, who has spoken with 
the Eternal, and heard his voice, not in an adul- 
terated translation, but in his own living, divine 
words. He should drink from the pure and re- 
freshing fountains, and not from the distant 
streams, turbid and corrupted by human ad- 
ditions. The minister should be able to read the 
Scriptures as God gave them, in their divine 
originals. Nothing like this, save the inspiration 
of the Almighty, will give him a spiritual and 
moral power in himself and over his people. 
Let such a man as this be beaten as he may by 
the opposing storm, he will stand firm as a moun- 
tain rock. 

Does not the age in which we live demand such 
a ministry as this ? — an age of commotions and 
strifes, an age in which men, and sytems, and 
institutions are shaken and tried to their founda- 


tions. Nothing but the best early advantages can 
provide such a ministry as this, an understanding 
ministry, a morally-powerful ministry because it is 

10. Finally : We must educate our young men, in 
order that our rising ministry may stand on a level 
vAth that of our sister churches. They educate their 
candidates in the very best manner. And on this 
very ground, notwithstanding the less genial and 
less liberal character of their theology, they draw 
over to their ranks not a few of Methodist con- 
verts and Methodist children, even those who 
have been born and nurtured in th« lap of the 
church. Verily, these things ought not so to be. 
These things do occur, and we must expect them 
to continue till we, in the name of the Lord, shall 
raise up an equally, if not a more, intelligent and 
cultivated ministry. We must demonstrate our 
power to be equal, if not superior, to theirs, not 
only in converting men, but also in building them 
up in the faith. God is willing to bless us as 
miich in gathering the harvest as in sowing the 
seed. Too long have we permitted our brethren 
of other denominations to look upon us as the 
sowers, and upon themselves as the reapers — upon 
us as the laborers, and .upon themselves as the 
privileged class to enter into our labors. 

These things ought not so to be. It is injurious 
to all parties, and to the general cause. It begets 
envy between Ephraim and Judah ; and I trust 


the genuine friends of Methodism, east, west, north, 
and south, will unite in saying, these things shall 
not continue so to be. If a better furnished min- 
istry will aid us in this matter, what true-hearted 
Methodist will not rejoice in its attainment ? 

In conclusion : We announce it as our solemn and 
settled conviction, tJmt both the Scriptures and tJie 
history of the church in general, and of the Methodist 
church in particular ; the relations of the itinerancy 
to the flocks j our pastoral and preaching work j tlie 
health and lives of our junior ministry ; its moral 
power and influence upon coming generations ; an 
honorable position among tJie other religious bodies 
of tlie land ; the spirit of the times ; the advanced 
education of this generation ; the glory of God, and 
the salvation of men, — aU demand of us a new devo- 
tion to the preparation of our rising ministry for the 
great work of the gospel. 



Ministerial Education should be practical. — Large 
Cities the preferable Locations for Ministerial Train- 
ing. — Arguments for this View. 

The object of. the friends of ministerial educa- 
tion is to raise up an efficient ministry, not a mere- 
ly learned or eloquent ministry, but in every sense 
the most efficient ministry. We want laborers — men 
who can and will work to advantage — men who, 
with the assistance of God, will be powerful to 
reap down the harvest of the world. 

In order to accomplish this object, our young 
ministers m,ust he trained in tlve practice, as well as 
in the theory, of tlwir profession. As the joiner 
must lay hold of the broadaxe and the plane, the 
smith of the hammer, and the mason of the trowel, 
and use them, and for a long time accustom their 
muscles to their use ; as the physician must visit 
the bedside of the sick, and carefully observe the 
symptoms of disease ; and as the lawyer must be- 
come ready in the details of his office — in the 
drawing of instruments and briefs — before he 
can become really efficient in his profession, so the 
minister cannot become efficient in his work till he 
has learned the art of public speaking, and be- 
come familiar with the ordinary duties of his pro- 
fession. It used to be thought necessary that the 


student of theology should pursue his studies with 
a settled pastor : in the Congregational, Baptist, 
and Presbyterian churches, and in the Methodist 
ministry, the practice has been similar ; i. e., to 
train the young man by bringing him into the per- 
formance of ministerial duty in part, especially 
preaching and pastoral labor, under the direction 
of a senior minister. This plan is now given up 
with other denominations, and our circumstances, 
since the circuit system is so generally given up, 
make it important for us to adopt a new method, 
and also to preserve, as far as possible, the p-acti- 
cal feature in training our young men. We say, 
therefore, that practice in the duties of the sacred 
ofi&ce should go hand in hand with instruction, and 
above all, that the practice of preaching — preach- 
ing the gospel — should be followed from the first 
Sabbath that the young man becomes a member of 
the biblical school, and not as a mere preparative 
for future service, but for present usefulness, with 
a soul warmed and filled with love to God and 
his fellow-men. 

Thus it was, in the providence of God, that John 
and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and James 
Hervey pursued their theological studies at Ox- 
ford. When wearied with the labors of study, 
they left their books, and sallied out, and visited 
the sick, and the poor, and the prisoner, and 
taught them the way of life. Thus they continued 
for several years, training themselves for that 


wide sphere of evangelical labors which they 
afterwards so gloriously filled. 

Now, our biblical schools should be located 
where the students may be employed in preach- 
ing the gospel to the poor — as in hospitals, 
in almshouses, on the wharves, and in destitute 
places. . Thus, while they are gaining a vast 
amount of experience for their work, they are at 
the same time doing a great service to the cause 
of God. If the above views be correct, we con- 
clude that our largest cities, or their immediate neigh- 
borhoods, are tJie true locations for our biblical schools. 
We do not mean to be understood that each of 
our cities should have its school, but that in each- 
great natural division of the country, in some one 
of its most central and populous cities, tJiere should 
be the biblical institution of our church. On ac- 
count of the vast extent of our work, it is not to 
be supposed that we can concentrate upon one 
biblical school, any more than we can upon on^e 
university, however desirable this might be. 

We would now ask attention to a few argu- 
ments for the view laid down above. And first, 
the argument from history is one full of instruc- 
tion on this point. We have already referred to 
the fact that the most powerful biblical school of 
the primitive church was located at Alexandria, 
one of the most commercial, populous, and cen- 
tral cities of the Roman empire. From this 
central position this school of the prophets of 


the early church sent out the arms of its influence 
over the whole Christian world. Its disciples 
were scattered, preaching the word from the 
Pillars of Hercules to Central Asia. Much of this 
wide-spread influence was owing to its admirably- 
central situation. Without dwelling upon this 
point, we would respectfully refer our renders to 
what has been already said upon it in Chapter 
VIII. The schools at Antioch and Caesarea were 
in central and powerful cities. It should be ob- 
served, also, that the principal biblical schools of 
the reformation were similarly located in great 
populous centres, as Wittemberg, Oxford, Geneva, 
.and Ley den. 

But an example full of instruction to us, as 
Methodists, is that of our Wesleyan brethren. 
They thus state their reasons, in the minutes of 
1834, why they preferred the neighborhood of the 
city of London, as the location for their institution, 
above all others : " Because, ^r^^, the neighborhood 
of the metropolis affords the means of obtaining 
for the students, at a small expense, and with little 
trouble, those helps to improvement which may be 
derived from lectures by eminent professors in 
several important branches of useful knowledge — 
helps which, under the direction of a vigilant 
tutor, and with a proper degree of previous prep- 
aration, will be found of incalculable advantage. 
Because, secondly, among the students there will 
always be a considerable number of such as ar6 


intended for the foreign service ; and it is es- 
pecially desirable that these should be within the 
reach of those instructions which are adapted to 
their peculiar work and prospects, and which they 
can receive only from the missionary secretaries ; 
and because, thirdly, it is eminently desirable that 
the students, while in course of preparation for 
circuits or missions, should be employed every 
Sabbath day in preaching the gospel, and in other 
auxiliary departments of usefulness ; and it is ob- 
vious that there are large and long-neglected dis- 
tricts, in the metropolis itself, and in several ad- 
joining counties, which appear to present the best 
and widest field for such labors." 

These reasons, it will be observed, apply equally 
as well to our own case as to theirs. In the city 
of New York and suburbs, for example, there aire 
now ascertained to be nearly a million of inhabit- 
ants. It is already in population the third city 
of the Christian world, London and Paris only 
being its superiors. It is the great centre of 
trade between the new and the old worlds, and 
its noble advantages for education are second to 
those of no other city in this country. Its free 
schools and academy open wide their doors to all. 
Its medical schools, under the charge of the most 
eminent professors, are glad to receive young men 
to their advantages gratuitously, who are preparing 
for the work of evangelization among the heathen. 
Here, also, is free access to eye and ear infirma- 


ries, to hospital practice, and to other institutions. 
Here, also, are abundant opportunities for acquir- 
ing foreign languages, and the frequent inter- 
course of shipping with all parts of the world 
furnishes great facilities for the acquisition of 
missionary preparation. Its libraries may now 
be considered the richest in the land, and to these 
all properly-accredited ministers of the gospel 
and students of theology are admitted freely. 

Again : this great city is the centre of our mis- 
sionary operations. Here is the Missionary Board, 
and here our missionaries concentrate. Here our 
young men might often be addressed by the mis- 
sionaries, fresh from their work ; and thus a deep in- 
terest and burning zeal would be awakened in the 
hearts of the youthful evangelists, which would, 
ere long, make " the desert and the solitary place 
glad for them." Here, too, are the eminent men, 
officers of the General Conference, the editors, the 
agents, and the secretaries of our Sunday School 
Union, and Missionary Board. Much might be 
gained from the counsel of these eminent and 
worthy brethren to the rising ministry of the 
church. Again : here would be abundant oppor- 
tunities for the employment of the students every 
Sabbath day, in preaching the gospel to the poor 
and the destitute. Doubtless, scores of men 
might be employed in this way, and in other 
auxiliary departments of usefulness, such as in 
the charge of Sunday schools, Bible classes, tract 


distribution and colportage, most profitably to the 

But there are other specific advantages afforded 
by great cities to a theological institution, which 
are not referred to by the British conference. 
Some of these are as follows : First. It is desira- 
ble that our young men should become acquainted 
with the practical workings of Methodism, and 
also with the means employed by other branches 
of the church to carry on the work of the gospel. 
Our biblical schools should be located where 
Methodism is prominent and powerful, where the 
young men may be in the highest degree en- 
couraged and strengthened by examples, before 
their eyes, of its glorious results. Such, in gen- 
eral, is Methodism in our large cities. 

Secondly. A large city is a microcosm, a world in 
itself — and a world in a small space. Here are 
the gatherings of the great denominational asso- 
ciations, and here Christians of the various orders 
mingle together on the same platform, and unite 
in carrying forward the benevolent enterprises of 
the church and of the country. What young man 
would not prefer a place of this sort in which to 
pursue his professional studies, rather than some 
distant rural district, where these advantages, in 
the nature of the case, could never be enjoyed ? 

Thirdly. A large proportion of the young men 
called of God into the work of the ministry are 
•po&r. In a rural district there are very few op- 



portunities for suitable employment fOr such men. 
But in large cities these opportunities are multi- 
plied. A large number of this class of students 
in the city of New York get employment in teach- 
ing a few hours in each week ; others, acquainted 
with some art or trade, have by this means sup- 
ported themselves ; others by distributing morn- 
ing papers an hour or two each day ; and others 
as leaders of choirs in churches. In these, and in 
many other ways, honorable and useful to the 
student, not only as alBfording him a means of 
subsistence, but also the needful bodily exercise, 
has many a young man pressed his way to honor, 
to usefulness, and to fame in the church of God. 

Fourthly. Large cities have a powerful influence 
to induce active habits, and to improve the man- 
ners and general bearing of our candidates for 
the ministry. They come from the plough and the 
workshop, and need some other influence besides 
the discipline of the lecture room to prepare them 
to appear with propriety before an assembled con- 
gregation, or in the private circles and families of 
our people. 

The minister of Christ should be polite and 
affable before other men. He should be adorned, 
as far as possible, with the outward as well as 
with the inward graces. He should be able to 
make himself agreeable and welcome in tlie high- 
est as well as in the lowest circles of life. He 
should be the furthest removed from austerity, or 


roughness, and awkwardness. What means, we 
would ask, are better calculated to accomplish this 
object than familiarity with good society? As- 
sociated with the pious and devoted members of 
our churches, as ministerial candidates in our cities 
TJoovM be, they gradually and certainly would re- 
ceive the plastic touch of their associations, and 
on this account become vastly more available for 
the cause of Christ and the church. 

Fifthly. It is exceedingly desirable that candi- 
dates for our ministry should hear the best preach- 
ing, and the ablest ministers, as far as possible, in 
our own and other communions. Let them be 
animated with their spirit, catch their glowing 
fervor, imitate their excellences, and follow on 
after them as they follow Christ. Thus shall the 
new generation of ministers excel the past, and 
the revenue of glory to oui' common Lord be aug- 
mented, as one class of laborers follows on after 
another. This advantage, I scarcely need add, 
will always be best found in our large cities. 

SixtJdy. Another consideration which should in- 
fluence us in this matter is the fact that a profes- 
sional school, and especially a ministerial or bib- 
lical school, can be more easily endowed in a large 
city than elsewhere. Capital and enterprise will 
always concentrate in our great commercial em- 
poriums. No tuition money is derived from the 
students, as in other professional schools. The 
wealthy of the church, like Ambrose of Alexandria, 


of blessed memory, must be induced to bestow as 
God has prospered them for the benefit of the 
rising ministry. Men in general are better 
pleased to bestow their wealth in those localities 
where they themselves reside, and where their 
interests concentrate, and on those objects and 
charities which they well understand, and whose 
practical workings and results they may have 
under their own inspection. 

Thus the Audover Seminary has been en- 
.dowed, principally by a few individuals, in its 
immediate neighborhood. So, also, the Episcopal 
and the New York Union Theological Seminaries, 
in the city of New York, have been munificent- 
ly endowed, principally by a few Christian men. 
The last-named institution has been endowed 
within the last ten years. Two gentlemen, by 
will, have recently left it, it is said, one hundred 
thousand dollars ; one the sum of forty, the other 
of sixty thousand ! Princely benefactions ! They 
make us think of the latter-day glory, when the 
sons of the church shall come, bringing " their 
silver and their gold with them unto the name of the 
Lord their God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because 
he hath glorified them" May we not hope that 
God will ere long raise up, among the Method- 
ists, men of similar character and means, who 
shall erect similar monuments to the praise of 
God's great name ? The church must look to her 
great Head to send us adequate resources for this 


exigency. But we must not pray as Antinomians, 
expecting- the end without the use of the means. 
If we will aAvait the accomplishment of our ob- 
ject, through the use of the appropriate means, as 
God is true to his church, they shall be siipplied in due 

Seventhly/. Another consideration of considerable 
moment in favor of such location is, that our great 
commercial cities are always easy of access, and 
meetings of the trustees and committees, and at- 
tendance upon the anniversaries, are likely to be 
vastly more general in such locations than in 
distant and secluded towns ; and on this account 
the institution will be better conducted, the at- 
tendance of students will be vastly more numer- 
ous, and our influence upon the world, in bringing 
lost men to Christ, proportionally increased. 

Too far, already, have we pursued the suicidal 
policy of locating our institutions of learning from 
motives of present economy. In this respect we 
have erred in some instances, much as the Meth- 
odists of a former generation erred in locating 
their churches. The time has been, when the 
passing traveller, observing a house of God in 
some lone spot, a mile or more from the centre of 
the town, would pretty confidently conclude that 
that was the Methodist church. But in this we 
have learned wisdom from experience. May God 
help us for the future, in respect to our biblical 



schools, at least that we may learn wisdom at not 
so dear a rate ! 

In conclusion, permit me to remark, that the 
views of this chapter have been already well 
tested by experience, both by the Methodists of 
England, and by the Presbyterians and Episcopa- 
lians of this country. All the anticipated ad- 
vantages of the location of the two branches of 
the Wesleyan institution in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of the two largest cities of England 
have been abundantly realized. The faculty of 
the Union Seminary of New York have recently 
thus remarked : " In the results thus far, the hopes 
of the founders have not been disappointed. It 
has been satisfactorily shown that the opportuni- 
ties and advantages afforded by a large city, for 
practical preparation and training in the profes- 
sion of theology and the pastoral office, are not 
less numerous and important than in the sister pro- 
fessions of law and medicine." 



Connection of Biblical Departments ivith our Semina- 
ries and Colleges. — Schools in our Cities. -^— Objec- 
tions to City Locations considered. 

Much discussion was elicited, a few years since, 
in New England, on the question, whether biblical 
departments in our colleges and conference semi- 
naries, for the prepartion of our young men for the 
ministry, would not be better than separate insti- 
tutions. The public mind settled down into the 
conclusion, that mere departments could not sup- 
ply the demand ; that a separate faculty of two 
or three professors could alone meet the wants of 
our candidates, and give to the professors the re- 
quisite time for preparation for their responsible 
work. More recently, another question, closely 
allied to this, has been somewhat discussed, viz., 
whether it would not be better to have our bibli- 
cal schools connected with our colleges, not as 
mere departments, but as separate schools — just as, 
in some instances, law and medical schools have 
been connected with them, and as the theological 
school at New Haven is connected with Yale 

We see no good objection to this plan, but, on 
the contrary, many things in its favor, especially 
provided the college be situated in .si dense popu- 


lation, where ministerial candidates may have the 
advantages indicated in ^ur last chapter. The 
institutions would be a mutual help to each other 
in various ways. The libraries might be used in 
common, and the lectures on many topics in the 
college would be of great service to a large class 
of our young men, whose age and means will not 
permit them to take a regular college course. 
This was the favorite plan with the late Dr. Fisk. 
But we are compelled to add, as our colleges are 
at present located, remote from the great centres 
of population, our candidates and our churches 
would lose more than they would gain by such 
connections. We hope the time is not far distant 
when Methodism will build up her schools, and 
even universities, in our cities, as well as in the 
distant rural sections of our country. "While we 
freely acknowledge that the country is, in gen- 
eral, the best for the morals and discipline of our 
children, yet there are thousands of our people 
in the cities who will never go beyond its suburbs 
for an education. It becomes us, therefore, to 
see to this matter, and to interest ourselves for 
the education of this large class of our wide-spread 

The letter on Methodist schools for the cities, 
by Rev. J. Frazcr, of Troy conference,^ is well 
worthy the consideration of our brethren in our 
cities. A very worthy example has been set us 

' See the Christian Advocate and Journal, Jan. 9, I80I. 


by our brethren in Newark, New Jersey, led on by 
the energetic and faithful labors of He v. D. P. 
Kidder, D. D. The interest now felt in the es- 
tablishment of similar schools, in several cities, 
we hope will speedily result in entire success. 
The discussion of this subject, however, we leave 
to others, concerning ourselves, at present, only 
with the matter of schools for the ministry. We 
have, in a former chapter, presented some argu- 
ments for their location in large cities. A few 
objections have occurred to us, which we will now 
proceed to 'answer. 

]. The expense of buildings and students would 
be increased in large cities. If the needful build- 
ings should be more expensive, we reply that the 
increase of the means in such localities would be 
correspondingly great. As to the expense of 
students, the objection is not well founded. The 
great expense of living in a city is for rent. But. 
the buildings being provided, the rent for the 
students is free. As to board and clothing, there 
is very little difference, as all very well know 
who have tried the experiment, between the ex- 
pense of the country and city. The experiment 
has been tried for the last fourteen years in the 
Union Seminary, in the city of New York. In the 
catalogue of 1851, it is said, " The average price of 
board has never been more than one dollar and 
seventy-five cents per week, and is usually less." 
In very few of our country towns could our young 


men be sustained at a much smaller rate. One 
such fact as the above sets the question of ex- 
pense entirely at rest. 

2. A second objection is, that there are too many 
things to distract the attention and dissipate the mind 
of the student in large cities. It is freely ad- 
mitted that the younger class of students at our 
schools and colleges would find embarrassment 
from this fact. But as ministerial candidates are 
supposed to be men of maturity and settled 
character, the objection seems hardly to apply to 
them. Should any young man profess to be called 
of God to the work of the ministry, who is not 
able to resist the temptations around him, he 
gives very good evidence that he has mistaken 
his calling, and the sooner this weakness is found 
out the better — the better it will be for him and 
for the church. Such a one should be recom- 
mended to return to his former employment. A 
young man that cannot govern himself, under 
such circumstances, is radically incapacitated to 
govern in the church of God. 

3. Another objection is, that mir young men edu- 
cated in cities will go to our distant circuits and mis- 
siotmry work with a great deal of reluctance. It 
would be a sufficient answer to this objection to 
say. Let the trial be made, and see whether these 
men will be less willing than others to enter upon 
the hardest fields of labor. How is it with the 
young men educated at the Wesleyan theological 


school, at London and Manchester ? The fact is, 
there is no class in the Wesleyan ministry that 
enters into the hardest work with greater cheer- 
fulness than the men from this school. JYearly one 
third of them have entered voluntarily into t/ie heathen 
field. Where, we ask, do the devoted mission- 
aries of the American, Presbyterian, and Baptist 
boards come from ? Are they not, almost without 
exception, from their theological schools ? The 
objection is baseless, and is too derogatory to the 
piety of our rising ministry to be seriously enter- 



The best Mode of sustaining Schools for Ministerial 
Education. — Their Relations to our other Literary 
Institutions, as our Conference Seminaries and Col- 
leges. — Their Relations to the General, Annual, and 
Quarterly Conferences. 

We do not intend in this chapter to enter into 
an extended discussion of the important topics 
placed at its head, but to advance some sug- 
gestions on each of these points. No great en- 
terprise for the good of mankind can be carried 
On without a corresponding degree of labor and 
sacrifice on the part of its friends. The mission- 
ary cause not only demands our money for the 
support of our missionaries, but also for houses for 
them to live in, and for the chapels and school 
rooms in which the heathen may be gathered and 
taught. So also the Bible cause demands a large 
expenditure of means and labor, both in publish- 
ing the sacred volume and in building houses for 
the transaction of its business, and in employing 
suitable men for its varied agencies. So with the 
tract cause, the Sunday school cause, and the 
cause of education. The cause of ministerial 
education is subject to the same law. Thus, for 
a well-informed and a thoroughly-educated minis- 
try, a corresponding price must be paid. Build- 


ings must be provided, both for the students and 
the instructors, and the support of the latter, to- 
gether with their families, must also be secured. 

As, in our colleges and higher seminaries, en- 
dowments are found necessary to support the 
faculty, while the tuition money goes to pay 
contingent expenses, so, in the biblical school, 
an endowment is found to be the more necessary, 
inasmuch as no income whatever is realized from 
tuition. The ministerial office is not one which per- 
mits its incumbents to realize any thing more than 
the means of support. As the student is not pre- 
sumed to be able to accumulate property after his 
studies are finished, so he cannot be expected to 
defray the expense of his education himself. It is 
necessary therefore for the church to provide for 
the instruction of her rising ministry. 

As to the best mode of doing this, we would, on 
the whole, prefer the mode of endowments, sup- 
posing them to be kept perfectly under the control 
of the church. This plan gives stability to an 
institution, and secures public confidence and 
respect. And those whom Providence has blessed 
with wealth, and who love our Lord Jesus Christ, 
and pray for the advancement of his kingdom, 
should bestow a liberal portion of it, in the pres- 
ent exigencies of the Methodist Episcopal church, 
for the education of its rising ministry. 

In the absence of endowments, however, there 
is another plan perfectly feasible, and which car- 


ries "with it many manifest advantages : we refer 
to the plan of annual contributions by the churches. 
"We will name ^oroe of its advantages. 

First. This mode has a better moral effect on 
the churches, just as the annual contributions for 
the missionary cause tend to increase the piety 
and devotion of the churches. Just so would this 
for the education of the ministry. 

Secondly. It would make the churches better in- 
formed, and by consequence more interested in 
the subject of ministerial education. The pastors, 
being called upon to take up annual collections, 
would give their people the requisite information, 
and would interest them by preaching on the 

Thirdly. The schools on this plan would be in the 
fullest sense dependent on the churches. There 
is, perhaps, too much ground of complaint among 
the Presbyterians and Congregationalists in this 
country that their schools, in some instances, are 
beyond their control — that the schools rather 
govern the chui'ches than the churches the schools 
— which is manifestly wrong. 

Fourthly. It is a scriptural mode. The Levites 
and priests were principally supported in the 
Jewish church by annual contributions. The 
principal part of the annual tithe went to their 
support. It should also be remarked that they 
had a partial endowment, having the forty-eight 
Levitical cities, together with their suburbs, for 


their portion of the land. After these, the prophet 
schools, and the first schools of the Christian 
church, were supported by voluntary contribu- 

Finally. We would add that this is the mode 
adopted by the Wesleyan Methodists of England. 
Collections are taken throughout the connection 
every year, and the benevolent are invited to sub- 
scribe annually a certain sum for the support of 
the theological institution. The noble sum of 
about thirty thousand dollars is raised annually 
for this object. 

A more important point to be determined is 
the relation our schools for ministerial education 
should hold in respect to our conference semina- 
ries and colleges. Ought they to teach the same 
branches, or those branches only which are ap- 
propriate to be studied by candidates for the 
ministry ? We answer, the studies in our schools 
for the ministry should be strictly appropriate to 
this calling. Else there would be a clashing of 
the biblical school with the interests both of our 
seminaries and colleges. Through the good provi- 
dence of God, the Methodist Episcopal church has 
been able to establish seminaries of learning for 
higher education in nearly all our conferences, 
and in every important section of the church wo 
have erected colleges or universities, some of 
which already compare well with those of greater 
age, erected by other denominations. Some of 


them are still in their infancy, and greatly need 
the fostering care of the church. It would be 
manifestly injurious to the seminaries and colleges 
to draw away from them our pious young men 
looking forward to the ministry, while they yet 
need to pursue their literary and scientific studies. 
No greater injury could be inflicted on the re- 
ligious character and influence of our conference 
seminaries and colleges than to prematurely draw 
away from them this class of their students. 
The biblical institution should not thus trespass 
upon the legitimate work of our colleges and 
seminaries. Our candidates for the ministry 
should be advised to remain until they may have 
concluded their literary and scientific studies, and 
are well prepared to enter upon those which es- 
pecially relate to their future calling. Any other 
course would be in the end highly injurious to the 
institutions, to the young men themselves, and to 
the church they would serve. We deem this view 
to be so obviously correct that further enlarge- 
ment seems to be unnecessary. 

What relation should our schools for minis- 
terial education hold to the General Annual 
and Quarterly conferences of the church. It 
will be clearly obvious that our biblical institu- 
tions should be under the most rigid surveillance 
of the church. When we reflect that the charac- 
ter of our rising ministry will be moulded and 
fashioned by their influence, a power so im- 


mense for good or evil to the cliurcli should not 
be left without the supervisory care of the General 
conference. Of this body, however, more than 
a general supervisory care could not be expected. 
It has so great a variety of interests to look 
after, and meeting only quadrennially, and then 
at points widely remote from each other, from 
the necessities of the case such an unwieldy 
body could not become accurately acquainted 
with all the affairs of such institutions under 
its care. 

The specific oversight, therefore, must be left 
to the Annual conferences, and to the trustees and 
visitors appointed by them. They must elect and 
change the instructors, and direct in all the in- 
ternal regulations of these institutions. The an- 
nual conferences, meeting every year, can, without 
difficulty, exercise over them the needful super- 
vision. And under such watchful care as they 
are enabled to give there can be no failure as to 
their orthodoxy and Methodistical character. 

It has ever been the doctrine of Methodism 
that God calls his ministers and gives them all 
the spiritual qualifications for their work. These 
three questions must be answered in the affirma- 
tive, in respect to those among us who profess to 
be moved by the Holy Ghost to preach : 1. Have 
they grace ? 2. Have they gifts ? 3. Have they 
fruits ? As long as these three marks concur in 
any one, we believe he is called of God to preach. 


These we receive as sufficient proof that he is 
moved by the Holy Ghost.^ 

But who is to judge whether a man has these 
marks ? We answer, the church, or the Quarterly 
conference, its authorized agent. It should there- 
fore be a fundamental principle, in respect to 
ministerial education in the Methodist Episcopal 
church, that no man can be admitted to our insti- 
tutions who has not first passed this ordeal of the 
Quarterly conference. In order that unworthy 
men may not be admitted into our ministry, the 
quarterly conferences must carefully guard this 
threshold of entrance. In this respect our plan 
differs from all others. Other denominations edu- 
cate men for the ministry ; we educate them as 
already in the ministry, and as called of God to 
this work. And the institutions must depend upon 
the quarterly conferences for a decision of this 
question in regard to the candidates. In respect 
to ministerial education, therefore, the Quarterly 
conference sustains an interesting and vital con- 
nection. May the Spirit of wisdom rest upon our 
official brethren of the churches, that they may be 
quick to discern those young men whom God is 
calling into his vineyard ! 

> Discipline, 1852, p. 50. 



Objections considered. — Conclusioti. 

It may be anticipated, perhaps, that a treatise 
on ministerial education on the scholastic plan 
should take some notice of the objections some- 
times urged against it. 

It has been said, for example, that such schools 
are not Methodistical. If by the term Methodistical 
is meant that which is in accordance with the 
views and practice of John Wesley and the most 
eminent ministers and writers of the "Wesleyan 
body, both in Europe and America, then schools 
for ministerial education are clearly Methodisti- 
cal. As we have seen in a previous chapter, Mr. 
Wesley contemplated the establishment of one, 
and actually did establish the Kingswood school, 
which answered the immediate and pressing wants 
of the connection. This school, it is true, was not 
established exclusively for the education of minis- 
ters ; but it was used for this purpose by Mr. Wes- 
ley as often as he found it needful. 

The first generation of Methodists, as we have 
already seen, were not in circumstances to es- 
tablish and support schools exclusively for the 
improvement of the ministry. But the present 
generations, both in England and America, have, 
in a good degree, accomplished this object, and 


have realized the original idea of Mr. Wesley.^ 
And for any man to say at this day that the 
Wesleyan Theological Institution is not Method- 
istical would be only to excite the compassion of 
his hearers for his want of understanding or his 
want of honesty. 

We would further remark that, in the Methodist 
Episcopal church, the first bishops and conferences 
evidently set out with the ideas of Mr. Wesley on 
this subject. Cokesbury College was the Ameri- 
can Kiugswood, designed for the benefit of those 
called to preach as well as others. But it was 
found that the early societies were not in a posi- 
tion to carry out this elevated plan of ministerial 
education, and hence for the time being it was 

But new times have dawned on us as a people ; 
we have become great and powerful, and what 
our fathers could not do for the education of 
their candidates for the ministry, we are now well 
able to do, and we shall be no more un-Methodistical 
in establishing schools for this purpose than we 
have Ijeen in establishing conference seminaries 
and colleges. 

We must beg leave to acknowledge as Method- 
istical any plan which is calculated, in harmony 
with our well-settled principles of discipline and 
usages, to establish the Redeemer's kingdom, and 
to save souls. The entire object of Methodism is 

» See Chap. XI. 


to spread scriptural holiness over these lands and 
over the world. If any new agency promises to 
aid us in this work, — as Sunday schools, or even 
biblical schools, — we hold it to be not un-Method- 
istical to adopt it, even though our fathers never 
thought of it. As to biblical schools, however, 
many of our most eminent fathers have spoken ; 
their opinions are on record, and their voice now 
unites with the demands of these times for their 
speedy establishment. 

Another objection against ministerial education 
arises, in many minds, from the following false 
opinion, viz., that it is the duty of a minister to 
devote himself immediately and entirely to the 
duties of his office, so soon as he is called ^ to that 
office. This opinion is well characterized and 
refuted by Rev. J. Dempster, D. D., as follows : — 

" This opinion is not a harmless element, slum- 
bering in the mind which entertains it, but one of 
sleepless and powerful operation. It has hurried 
undisciplined youth into the sacred desk, before 
they had one adequate conception of a single func- 
tion of their office. Now, it seems to me that 
whatever would prove this notion true would 
prove all analogy false. In all the known depart- 
ments of divine administration, Providence edu- 
cates men for distinguished posts before they are 
placed at those posts. 

' The Methodistic idea of a call to the ministry may be seen 
stated on p. 189. 

17 M 


" Such as have urged St. Paul's call to the minis- 
try, as an exception to this rule, have overlooked 
the fact that he was called to this work before 
he was even converted. While he yet stood a blind 
and trembling convict, his ministerial commission 
was given him in these words : ' Unto whom I now 
send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them 
from darkness to light.' (Acts xxvi. 17.) The 
historical indications are strong, that the years 
passed by the apostle in Arabia, prior to his en- 
tire devotion to the ministry, were spent in pre- 
paratory studies for that oflBce. At all events, 
between his call and his work there intervened 
his journey to Damascus, his three days of fasting 
and prayer, and his conversion instrumentally ef- 
fected by Ananias. Now, the principle that im- 
mediate devotion to the work of the ministry is not in- 
volved in a call to the ministry, is no less settled by 
the intervention of days than of years. Were it 
proper to call him to the ministry before he was 
morally prepared, it certainly might be proper to 
call him before he was intellectually furnished. 
But had he been summoned to enter on his minis- 
try the very hour he was commissioned, how could 
it be thence inferred that every other minister 
should do so ? For who could determine that his 
call, involving his duty immediately to enter on the 
ministry, was not one of those peculiarities which 
belonged to the manner of his call. Nor can the 
call of the other apostles be adduced, to any 


better eflfect. They certainly did not devote 
themselves to the work of the ministry till after 
years had followed their call to it. They waited 
for a thorough training, by the lessons of their 
Master, and for a fuller baptism by the Pente- 
costal fire. But had it been otherwise, — had 
their call to the ministry, and their entering on 
its work, been separated by no interval, — who 
could assure us that this was not one of those 
things which belonged only to the apostles ? This 
might have been one of those duties devolving 
only on a miraculously-qualified apostle, which 
was never required of any other minister of 
Christ. But as this was never made the duty 
of even a single one of the apostles, how absurd 
to infer that it is the duty of Christ's oi'dinary 
ministers 1 

" On what evidence, then, is that strange assump- 
tion made, that God calls none to the ministry 
until they are intellectually qualified for its func- 
tions ? Does a prospective call argue a want of 
wisdom in Christ ? How, then, could he have so 
called all his apostles ? Why did not this fancied 
wisdom shine in some one single instance ? In- 
deed, such as deny a prospective call contradict 
their own cherished views of ministerial qualifica- 
tions. They maintain that an intellectual train- 
ing, sufficient to expound the gospel, is important 
to its minister, and yet they concede that many, 
who have since proved themselves called to the 


ministry, had not this training when they entered 
on it. Now, who can resist the inference, either 
that they should have postponed their work, to 
acquire a fitness, or that God sets them to work 
when unfit for it ? 

" But to deny a prospective call to the ministry 
is to enjoin on the church the duty of furnishing 
credentials to every pretender who may profess 
himself called to the sacred office ; for if a call 
consists in only what God communicates to the 
minister's mind, and it is his duty to enter imme- 
diately on his office, then it cannot be the duty of 
the church to delay his credentials till she has 
tested his call. In other words, it is the duty of 
the church immediately to give ministerial cre- 
dentials to all sorts of men who may profess to be 
called of God. And what impostor could wish 
larger scope for his machinations ? 

" But if the call be made to consist in the con- 
curring voice of the church and the Spirit, then, 
from its very nature, is it prospective. In all 
ordinary cases is it notoriously so, as to entire 
devotion to the ministry. Indeed, any other kind 
of a call would totally subvert our own church order. 
That assumes that ministers are at Jirst generally 
called to devote themselves very limitedly to their 
office, and afterwards entirely to its functions. 
What else has been our course with a large ma- 
jority of our ministry ? The itinerant field is 
covered with ministers, whom our economy would 


never have employed in, it when their call to the 
ministry was first recognized by the church. Our 
church, then, most decidedly practises on the princi- 
ple of a prospective call. It demands a preparation 
in the candidate for entire devotion to the work, 
which it knows him not to have when it first 
licensed him. Nothing less, therefore, than the 
overthrow of our economy could result from tlie 
opposite doctrine. 

" It is common ground among us, that every 
true minister is inwardly moved by the Holy 
Ghost to the work of his office ; now, as, from the 
very nature of the case, he must be conscious of 
being so moved before the church can know it, 
who will affirm that it is not his duty to spend the 
interim in a preparation to obey God ? The pro- 
spective character of the call, therefore, and our 
church economy, are sustained or crumbled to- 

" In strict accordance with this principle, it 
seems to me the wisdom of God has ever ad- 
ministered. It has been practised upon in all 
dispensations. Though in circumstances there are 
striking discrepancies between the Jewish and 
Christian ministry, yet are there great principles 
in the purposes for which both are appointed, that 
have never passed the slightest mutation. Thus 
to teach was one aim of both ministries. Both, 
therefore, required to be taught. The forty-eight 
cities devoted to the priesthood were, most of 


them, says the learned Wakefield, schools for the 
instruction of the sacred order. And from the 
very dawn of Christianity, we are assured by its 
profoundest historian, Mosheim, that the apostles 
themselves, while yet glowing in the ascension 
gifts, established schools to train youth for the 
sacred office. John the Baptist, and his divine 
Master, though conscious of their designation to 
the ministry from their childhood, refrained from 
entering on it until they had attained the full 
maturity of manhood. Samuel was distinctly called 
to the prophetic office when a mere child, long 
before he was capable of discharging all its func- 
tions. David knew himself to be anointed to 
fill the throne in the theocracy long before he 
could ascend it to act as God's vicegerent. This 
great principle of a divine call to a special work 
long anterior to entering on it might be illustrated 
by scores of Scripture facts ; only one more, how- 
ever, shall be now adduced. The call of Moses 
is to the purpose. He knew himself commissioned 
to deliver his nation forty years before he was 
sent to execute that commission. (Acts vii. 25.) 
In our haste, we may censure this preparatory 
delay, but it is safer not to impugn the wisdom 
which ordains it." 

There is only one more objection to which we 
deem it advisable to invite the attention of our 
readers, and that is, that schools for ministerial edu- 
cation are fruitful sources of heresy. This fancied 


objection arises from a total ignorance of the 
history of the heresies. "We have given this sub- 
ject a careful investigation, and arc prepared to 
say that not one of all the prominent heresies that 
have afflicted the church has arisen from its sa- 
cred schools. Sabellianism, Arianism, Pelagian- 
ism, and Romanism, the earlier heresies of the 
church, all took their rise with individuals, and 
not from the schools. The more modern heresies, 
as Calvinism, Socinianism, Universalism, Mormon- 
ism, and Mlllerism, all originated with individual 
minds, and not one of them has had the remotest 
connection, in their origin, with the sacred schools 
of the church. Tliey rather arose out of the cor- 
rupt fountains of the human heart. 

The learning of the Alexandrine seminary, in 
the early church, destroyed the Sabellian and 
Arian heresies. In more modern times, the learn- 
ing of Luther and Melancthon at "Wittemberg, 
and of Wickliflfe and Peter Martyr at Oxford, 
paralyzed and crushed forever the colossal power 
of Rome. And in still later times, the keen and 
powerful logic of James Arminius at Leyden, and 
of John Wesley at Oxford, and John Fletcher at 
Madely, has given the death blow to Antinomian- 
ism, or high Calvinism, and has nurtured what re- 
mained in it of evangelical spirit and life. They 
have sent the sweet savor of their writings over 
the earth, and the whole evangelical world re- 
joices in a purer, a more genial, and a more 


evangelistic theology from their Heaven-directed 
labors. Those ^vho point to the Socinian and 
infidel influences that have festered in the German 
churches and universities for the last half centur}'-, 
and say that these things are the results of their 
sacred schools, have an entirely superficial and 
inadequate view of the matter. The infidelity 
there existing has come rather from the churches 
into the schools, and not from the schools into 
the churches. When the great Neander was 
asked what was the cause of the defection of the 
German churches from sound doctrine, he replied, 
" The dead orthodoxy ! " Yes, it is " the dead ortho- 
doxy,^^ which has been born from the unholy al- 
liance of the German churches with the state. 
And this ^^ dead 07-thodoxy" has, in her turn, be- 
come the mother of a great progeny of errors, 
which, for nearly a century, have cursed and de- 
stroyed the home of the reformation. 

But there is still hope left for Germany, and 
that hope is chiefly in her sacred schools. For, 
as long as they produce such men as Neander, 
and Tholuck, and Hengstenberg, and Ullmann, 
and Schleirmacher ,the pious may well lift up their 
voice to the great Head of the church for a con- 
tinued blessing upon them. These veteran men, 
who have fought so nobly in the warfare for 
Christ during the present century, are worthy to 
have their names recorded with those of Luther 
and Melancthon of an earlier day. 


The sacred school, when favored with evangeli- 
cal influences, is the most unlikely place on earth 
for the production of heresies ; for here God is 
sought after, and the Bible is studied, and the 
great minds of the church arc communed with. 
We are persuaded that there is no good ground 
for this objection either in theory or in fact. And 
it Avill be sufficient time for us to refute its abet- 
ters when they bring something better than their 
own surmises to sustain it. 

I here bring this work to a close, having only 
discharged a solemn duty, as I believe, to God 
and the cliurch. Some other one might have per- 
formed the same labor, and to much better pur- 
pose ; but I am consoled by the thought that tliere 
is still room enough for them. I have offered my 
humble contribution for the furtherance of a great 
and worthy object, and have thus discharged my 
responsibility, and feel that I am already not with- 
out my reward. 





As early as the spring of 1839, a Convention was called of ministers and 
members of the Methodist Episcopal church to meet in the city of Boston, to 
consider the matter of establishing a Theological Institution for the improve- 
ment of (he junior ministry of the Methodist Episcopal church. The subject 
was discussed in the convention, and subsequently in Zion's Herald and other 
church papers, with much interest. Finally, the nucleus of what is now the 
Methodist General Biblical Institute was established at Newbury, Vt. It was 
looked upon with joy and with hope, especially by the ministers and members 
of the Methodist Episcopal church in Kew England, and they began to rally 
around it with their labors, their offerings, and their prayers. Rev. Osmon C. 
Baker, A. M., (now bishop,) was elected Professor of Theology, and servedfor 
some time witli great acceptance and success, and Rev. W. M. Willett, A. M., 
was elected Professor of Biblical Literature. In 1844, Prof. Baker resigned his 
oflice, and entered into the regular work ; and in 1845, Rev. John Dempster, 
then of the New York Conference, was chosen Professor of Theology in his 
stead. But it was found at this time that there was a growing desire that the 
Institution should have a more central location. 

Accordingly, at the ensuing session of the New Hampshire Conference, in 
May, 1845, at Winchester, N. H., the Trustees of the Newbury Biblical Insti- 
tute met at that place, and requested Prof. Dempster to act as their agent in 
visiting the Conferences in New England, to secure their concurrence in the 
following propositions : — 

1. That the location of the Institution should be finally determined by the 
Conferences themselves or by their Trustees. 

2. That the patronizing Conferences should have eacli an equal number of 

3. That the amount of endowment to be raised should be 37,000 dollars, 
including the 12,000 dollars already subscribed at Newbury. 



These propositions were harmoniously adopted by the New England, New 
Hampshire, and the Providence Conferences. It was afterwards found that 
the charter of tlie Newburj' Biblical Institute precluded the carrying out of the 
second measure. The charter provided for only 12 Trustees, and those Trus- 
tees had all been elected, and resided mostly in the State of Vermont. The 
Vermont Conference, at their session in 1846, with true magnanimity, directed 
that the Biblical Institute at Newburj' should " wind up its concerns." The 
General Biblical Institute then went on. Dr. Dempster was engaged as an 
agent. He visited Europe, and solicited funds from the friends of American 
Methodism in England. The amount contributed was £359 4*. 3d. Dr. 
Dempster continued his labors as agent, after his return from Europe, during 
the winter of 1846-7, and prosecuted it with great zeal and success. In the 
mean time the people of Concord, N. H., ofTered to the Trustees very eligible 
buildings and grounds, provided they would locate the Institution in that town. 
Their proposition was agreed to, and the Institution actually went into opera- 
tion ill the spring of 1847, with two professors and seven students. 

The following is the charter of the Institution, granted by the Legislature 
of New Hampshire, in July, 1847 : — 

An Act to establish a Corporation by the name of the Methodist General 
Biblical Institute. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in Oen- 
eral Court conrened, That Charles Adams, Osmon C. Baker, Abel Stevens, Dex- 
ter S. King, Elisha Adams, Ralph W. Allen, Moses Raymond, Lorenzo D. Bar- 
rows, David Patten, James Porter, Silas Uuiinby, Sandfurd Benton, Jefferson 
Haskall, and Newell Culver, their associates and successors, be and they here- 
by are enacted and made a body corporate and politic by the name of the Trus- 
tees of the Methodist General Biblical Institute, and by that name may sue and 
be sued, and shall have the privileges, and be subject to the liabilities, incident 
to corporations. 

Section 2. Said Corporation may establish an Institution in tlie town of 
Concord, for Instruction in Biblical Knowledge and Sacred Literature, for the 
more ready and perfect preparation of young men for the Christian ministr}', 
and may purchase, erect, and maintain suitables therefor — may receive and 
hold by purchase, gift, devise, or otherwise, real and personal estate to an 
amount not exceeding 100,000 dollars, which shall be and forever remain in- 
vested and unexpended, the annual value and income of which shall only be 
appropriated to promote the objects of said Institution. 

Section 3. Charles Adams, Osmon C. Baker, and Abel Stevens, or any 
two of them, may call the first meeting of said Corporation, by publishing no- 
tice of the time and place thereof in Zion's Herald and Wesleyan Journal, 
published at Boston, two weeks successively prior thereto, at which meeting 
they may prescribe the manner of calling the annual and other meetings of the 
Corporation, provide for the enlargement of the number of the Trustees, and 
the manner pf filling vacancies which may occur, and adopt such other regu- 


lation.-i and by-law's, not inconsistent witli the law^ of this 8tate, as may be 
useful and necessary for their organization, government, investment of their 
funds, and the promotion of the object aforesaid. 

Section 4. The Legislature of this State may alter, amend, or repeal this 
act when, in their opinion, the public good may require it. 

Section 5. This act shall take effect upon the passage thereof. 
Approved July 3, 1847. 


Harrt Hibkaro, President of the Senate. 

MoiEs NoRRis, Jr., Speaker of the House. 


The property of the Institution consists, — 

1. Of the seminary building and grounds, valued at . . $6,000 00 

2. The new boarding house and grounds, 3,000 00 

3. Furniture of students' rooms and lecture rooms, . . . 500 00 

4. Notes paying interest, . 11,200 06 

5. Donation by late Rev. Bishop Heddmg, 1,000 00 

6. Bond and mortgage executed by D. Drew, Esq., . . . 5,586 00 

7. Bank stock in Providence, R. I., about ... . . 700 00 

8. Pledge of the N. H. Annual Conference, with interest, . 3,500 00 

9. Pledge of New England Conference, "... 6,00000 

10. Pledge of Providence Conference, " . . . 6,000 00 

11. Pledge of Vermont Conference, "... 2,000 00 
For the last two years the income of the Institution has been nearly suffi- 
cient to meet the professors' salaries. 



First Term. Hebrew commenced. Lectures on Sacred Geography. 
Greek Harmony and Exegesis. Natural Theology, with Lectures. 

Second Term. Hebrew continued. Lectures on Scripture Natural His- 
tory. Mental and Moral Science, with Lectures. Greek Hannony continued. 
Lectures on the Style and Composition of Sermons. 

Third Term. Hebrew Historical Books, finished. Lectures on Biblical 
Archsolog>'. Greek Harmony of the Gospels, finished. Lectures on the Evi- 
dences of Christianity and Inspiration of the Scriptures. 

Exerciset in Elocution and Preaching throughout the year. 




FiEsT Tekm. Hebrew Poetrj', Psalms, witli Exegetical Exercises. Acts 
of the Apostles, with Exegetical Exercises. Revealed Tlieology, with Lec- 
tures ; and Ecclesiastical Historj', witli Lectures, throughout the year. 

Second Term. Revealed Theology, Ecclesiastical History. Epistles of 
Paul, with Exegetical Exercises Lectures on Pastoral Theology. Hebrew 
Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, with Lectures and Exegetical Exer- 

Third Term. Revealed Theology and Ecclesiastical History, finished. 
Paul's Epistles, with Exegetical Exercises, finished. Hebrew Books of Job, 
Ecclesiastes, and Canticles, with Lectures and Exegetical Exercises. Lectures 
on Pastoral Theology. 

Sermons and Preaching. 


First Term. Institutions of the Church, with Lectures. Epistles of Peter 
and James, with Exegetical Exercises. Lectures on Pastoral Theology. He- 
brew Minor Prophets, with Lectures and Exegesis. 

Second Term. Polemic Theology, with Lectures. Lectures on Church 
Government. Prophecy of Zechariali and the Apocalypse. 

Third Term. Polemic Theology, finished. Church Government and Dis- 
cipline, with Lectures. Biblical Chaldee. 

Sermons and Preaching. 

Remarks. — The above course of study embraces three years, and the full 
course cannot well be completed in a shorter time. It is therefore recom- 
mended that young men come here with the expectation of staying during the 
three years. The classes hereafter will be arranged, as completely as possible, 
into Junior, Middle, and Senior, according to the above course of study. 

Students who have honorably completed the course of study, and have been 
examined upon it before the Boards of Trustees and Visitors, or a Committee 
of the same, will be entitled to a diploma, signed by the Faculty and Officers 
of the Board of Trustees. 

We would further remark, that while the course of study is earnestly recom- 
mended to candidates for the ministr}',yct those students whose circumstances 
render it indispensable to spend a shorter time at the Institute will have the 
privilege of entering such classes as they may be qualified to enter. Careful 
attention will be given to the reading of our standard authors. It is very desi- 
rable that young men, before entering the Institution, should be well acquaint- 
ed with the common and higher branches of an English education. Also it 
would facilitate them much, in entering upon our course of study, to have a 
knowledge of the elements of Greek. 

Students are earnestly requested to be present at the commencement of the 
year, that they may pursue the course of study regularly. 




Art. I. The title of this Institution shall be the Metliodist General Biblical 

Art. 2. Its object is the more ready and perfect preparation for the Chris- 
tian ministry of young men who shall have been deemed by the church di- 
vinely called thereto. 

Art. 3. No doctrines or opinions which are contrary to the fundamental 
principles of Methodism, as recorded in the book of Discipline, and the stan- 
dard authors of the Methodist Episcopal Churcli, shall be tauglit in the Insti- 

Art. 4. Its entire management shall be vested in a Board of Trustees, (all 
of whom shall be members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,) an equal num- 
ber from each Annual Conference patronizing it, and to be appointed by such 
Conference, which sliall also have power to remove them at pleasure. 

Art. 5. When a vacancy occurs, the Conference, whose representative thus 
ceases to represent it in tlie Board, shall have the riglit to appoint his substi- 
tute, conformably to Article 4 ; provided, however, tliat if said Conference fails, 
after having had due notice, to fill the vacaucy at its next ensuing session, the 
Board itseU" shall have i>owcr to fill it. 

Art. 6. The Trustees shall annually appoint from their own members a 
President, Vice President, Secrctarj', Tre;isurer, two Auditors, a Prudential 
Conunittee, and any such other officers as the Board may judge necessary. 

Art. 7. The Trustees shall hold at least one regular meeting annually, for 
the transaction of their business. 

Art. 8. The Conferences patronizing the Institution shall have liberty to 
appoint annually two visitors, to inspect it and to attend the annual examina- 
tion of the students. 

Art. 9. This Constitution shall be altered only by a majority of all the Con- 
ferences patronizing the Institution, by appointment of Trustees and visitors, 
and every alteration shall be originally suggested and recommended by a ma- 
jority of the Trustees present and voting at any regular meeting. 


Art. I. The regular Annual Meeting shall be determined from year to year 
by the Prudential Committee, and duly announced. 

Art. 2. Special meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be called by the 
President, at the request of the Prudential Committee, or one half of the Trus- 

AnT. 3. The members of the Board shall form a quorum, at any regular 


meeting which has been duly called, and a less number shall have power to 
adjourn from time to time. 

Akt. 4. The only pecuniar}- charges on the studehts shall be for room rent, 
fuel, and incidental repairs ; and the assessments for these purposes shall be 
limited in amount to the actual expense incurred therefor by the Institution. 

Art. 5. The Prudential Committee shall meet as often as their Chairman 
may direct. It shall be their duly to execute all such business as the Board 
ehall at any time direct, or the by-laws prescribe. They shall have power to 
inspect the Institution at any time — to require answers to any inquiries which 
they may address to the instructors or other officers, on subjects pertaining to 
the Institution, and to advise them thereon. They may also do such incidental 
business, not contrary to the Constitution and by-laws, as may be necessary 
— subject to the revision of the Trustees. 

Art. 6. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all the moneys of 
the Institution — to appropriate them for the current expenses of the Corpora- 
tion — and for such other purposes iis the Board may direct, no appropriation 
being inconsistent with the Act of Incorporation — and to present an annual 
report to the Board, his account being open for the inspection of the Prudential 
Committee at all times. 

Art. 7. Each of the several Committees shall present their report in writ- 
ing, and such report shall be kept on file by the Secretary. 

Art. 8. Applicants for admission to the seminary, who belong to the M. E. 
Church, must present a written recommendation from a Cluarterly or Annual 
Conference of said church. Applicants belonging to other churches must pre- 
sent satisfactory written recommendations fi-om clergymen of their denomina- 

Art. 9. Candidates for admission to the regular course of study are re- 
quired to have a thorough knowledge of the common English branches, and 
also a good knowledge of the higher English, and of the Greek Grammar; the 
Faculty, however, arc allowed to suspend the operation of this rule, if, in their 
judgment, it may, in any case, be desirable. 

Art. 10. The Facultj-, with the consent of the Prudential Committee, shall 
have power to deviate from .Article 8 in special cases — such deviations being 
(lubject to the revision of the Board. 

Art. 11. The classification of the studies, and the internal arrangements 
of the Institution, shall be adapted to the existing circumstances of the church, 
in respect both to the necessary qualifications of its ministr}', and the actual 
qualifications of the young men who are candidates for it ; and tho adaptations 
of the Institution shall vary accordingly, as the circumstances of the church 
may vary at any future time. 

Art. 12. The preparation of young men for foreign missions shall be a 
special object of the Institution ; and students contemplating the missionHr>' 
work shall receive such special classification and training as the seminary 
may be able to afford. 

Art. 13. The by-laws may be altered ot amended by a majority of Trus- 
tees at any regular ndeeting. 

ArPEXDix. 237 

Expenses. — ft is tlie design of the Trustees and patronizing Conferences to 
reduce tlie expenses of tlie students to tlie lowest possible grade, so that those 
candidates for our ministry, whose means are limited, may not fail to ohtain 
an appropriate education for their future calling. Hence no charge is made for 
tuition. The new and commodious boarding house, recently erected, is occu- 
pied by the students free of rent, and their hoard and washing are secured at 
cost. The past year it has averaged about $1.30 per week. The Institution 
makes no charge upon the students, except one shilling per week for the con- 
tingent expenses, upon those who occupy rooms in the building, and fifty cents 
per term upon those who room out. 

A number of the students are now sustaining themselves by supplying va- 
cant congregations on the Sabbath, others by teaching during the winter vaca- 
tions, and a few by manual labor. 

Location. — Concord is easy of access by means of railroads from all parts 
of the country. Trains connect daily between this place and Worcester, Al- 
bany, New York City, Boston, Portland, Vermont, and Northern New Hamp- 
Bhire, Ogdensburg, and Montreal. 

Terms and Vacations. — The academical year commences on tlie firBt 
Wednesday in Februarj-, and closes on the first Thursday of November fol- 
lowing. The year is divided into three terms. 

Spring Term commences on the first Wednesday in February, and continues 
12 weeks. 

Slimmer Term commences on the first Wednesday in May, and continues 12 

Fall Term commences on the second Wednesday in August, and continues 
12 weeks. 

Libraries. — The libraries contam about 2C00 volumes, to which the stu- 
dents have access without any additional expense. Additions will bo made to 
them as the means of the Institution will permit. 

A very valuable addition has just been made to the library by the last will 
and testament of Rev. Bishop Hedding, D. D., by which most of his valuable 
library has been presented to this Institution. It consists of nearly 300 vol- 

A Missionary Library has also been recently commenced, principally through 
the noble generosity of Rev. Wm. Butler, of the New England Conference. It 
now consists of about 400 volumes. 

Anniversary. — The Anniversary of the Institution will be held at the close 
of the fall term. Friends of the Institution are respectfully invited to attend 
on this occasion. 

Professorships. — The financial interests of the Institution demand the gen- 
eral attention of our friends. Three professorships should immediately be 
filled up and placed on a permanent foundation. The New Hampshire Con- 

18* N 


ference has taken efficient measures to raise her proportion of the endowment 
the present year. The Trustees look to tlie prompt and efficient aid of the 
other patronizing Conferences, and to the benevolent in our church. Some of 
our friends may desire to aid the Institution at their decease. To assist such, 
the following form of a bequest is appended : — 

" I give and bequeath to the Trustees of the Methodist General Biblical In- 
stitute, in Concord, N. II., the sum of dollars, [or the following de- 
scribed tract of land or real estate,] to be appropriated by the said Trustees for 
the use of the Biblical Institute in that place." 

Donors may appropriate their donations or bequests to some specific object, 
in connection with the Institute, or place them in the general funds, to be 
vested and applied at the discretion of the Trustees. 

History, Wants, and Prospects. — The Institution commenced its operations 
in April, 1847, since which time the number and character of its students have 
improved each year. And we would liere record, with gratitude to God, the 
past year has been one of marked prosperity. Eight Annual Conferences are 
pledged to its interests, viz. : all of the New England, and two of the New 
york Conferences, and tlie rooms are* handsomely furnished by the liberality 
of benevolent ladies. We greatly want funds to relieve poor students in need. 
A number of instances have already occurred where young men of fine tal- 
ents and glowing zeal have left the Institution imperfect in tlieir .studies for 
the want of funds. Some instances of self-sacrifice would touch the heart, 
could they be related. Believing that the Institution will prove a powerful 
instrumentality for the good of the world and the glory of the Redeemer, we 
beseech its friends to watch over its interests with the utmost care